Active Listening

This is a BIG one, and is truly at the core of a leader. This is listening to people with high attentiveness and sincerely. You understand the other person and their perspective. In the interaction, you are focused on the person and the message. You don’t interrupt. You acknowledge what is being said.

We grow up being taught how to read, write and speak. But we are not thought how to listen.
Active listening is listening with the intent to understand.

In most interactions, we are very eager and sometimes impatient to get our point across, ensuring that we are understood first. When we listen, we are not really truly paying attention to the speaker. We are thinking about what we want to say or how we would respond. This is how we miss a lot in the interaction or conversation.

Also remember that communication is both verbal and non-verbal and we must learn how to be attentive to both.
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey couldn’t have said this any better:
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

This is such an important concept that is worth expanding upon further here.
We tend to listen and quickly make the conversation about ourselves. Yes everyone loves themselves best. This type of listening is what Steven Covey calls autobiographic listening and he draws on four ways that this typically expresses it self in our interactions. Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree; Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference; Advising: You give (sometimes unsolicited) counsel, advice, solutions to problems; Interpreting: You analyze others’ motives and behaviors based on your own experiences.

The right approach is to listen with the intent to understand, reflect their feelings and words, then seek to be understood and then state your point. Active \

listening begins with the other person first, then you second and not the other way around like we tend to do.


How have you been listening to people around you?

Are you guilty of autobiographic listening? Which aspect is mot common?

How can you practice active listening today?