Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #65
From the Greenbelt of Boise Idaho, Sun defrosting the morning chill
Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.
– Karl A. Menninger
I was discussing Listening with a participant of the Leaders Who Coach Program I co-lead. We encourage leaders to listen three-quarters of the time when they’re coaching.
We quickly jumped through several levels of listening:
- hearing and ignoring because I’m focusing on something else,
- hearing and thinking of what I’m going to say in response,
- just hearing what the other person has to say.
We acknowledged that it is easy to be caught in the first two levels, and not really hear the other person. Then we dug a little deeper to explore what it means to go beyond hearing the words to listening deeply.
To listen deeply, our intention shifts from an exchange of information to seeing the other person. Listening with our whole selves we actively reflect and paraphrase what we perceive back. By doing this, we create a sense of being seen and understood, a sense of belonging and connection that Karl Menninger describes “creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
This kind of listening for what someone cares about, what they feel and sense, and what is unfolding for them can have a transformative impact.
Later in the day I received an email. She’d gone on a walk with a friend who was dealing with a very challenging situation. She practiced and shared deep listening, and it led to a significant shift enabling her friend to create an action plan.
We all experience challenging situations, and need someone who will deeply listen. Cultivating our capacity to deeply listen, develops leadership in ourselves.
I work with teams and leaders to create better results through the conscious practice of leadership. Let’s create a better future today!