“You are not going to listen unless you want to hear,” said Denis, a friend, former colleague and mentor of mine as we met over a cup of coffee at our usual coffee shop – a convenient halfway point between our respective homes.
The sentence immediately struck a cord within me as it captures and clarifies the importance of attitude in hearing…really hearing.  Hearing depends on listening and listening is an attitude.
Stop and think about this for a minute. I suspect we often listen without hearing Listening(and in my case, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to envisage my wife nodding knowingly in agreement!). What stops us listening is our attitude – one of simply not wanting to hear!
Many leaders have the reputation of not being good listeners. Most leaders are more accustomed (and comfortable) with speaking rather than listening. As a leader, how are your listening skills? If good listening is an attitude of ‘wanting to hear’ then the key to unlocking that is a sense of curiosity. A curiosity that is built on wanting to know (more), one that is keen to hear, to learn and to better understand.
So simple and yet so difficult.
As a leader, what is your attitude towards listening? When last did you intentionally engage in a conversation in which you were more intent on listening than on speaking? What would happen in your day-to-day engagements were you to listen more than you spoke?
Wanting to hear (as a leader) is essential. Get that ‘right’ and I suspect that listening becomes easy. The word ‘listen’ has the same letters as the word ‘silent’…coincidence? In a strange twist of cosmic gamesmanship, I suspect not.
What is it that you want (and maybe need) to hear?

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