“There’s a big difference between showing interest and really listening.” Michael P. Nichols, The Lost Art of Listening
Genuine listening in most areas of life is uncommon. In the workplace it’s rare. We’re too busy – so we think. We’re distracted and fragmented. Sitting down for a non-task oriented conversation feels like just another bit of pressure. Too often we just engage in conversation (more like just convey information) so that we can tick off another agenda item on our endless to-do list and move on.
Yet in nearly every interaction I have with people in the workplace, listening is identified as the most important skill in building trust and relationships. Most people I work with say they need to become better listeners and they definitely want to experience better listening from their colleagues.
Often when I ask groups, “When did you last feel like someone really listened to you and showed genuine interest,” most say they can’t recall. Sadly, too many say never.
So why are we such poor listeners? What stops us from really tuning into others? Continue reading