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  • Writer's pictureJohn J Lowe

Good listeners learn faster and are better leaders

Updated: Jun 1

Consider theses scenarios.

You are in a lecture and one of the students constantly interrupts the lecturer to contest what they are saying. Their motivation can be twofold: they are making a verbal pose. In other words they are demonstrating their intelligence by asking what they consider to be sophisticated questions. Or they are negative in their thinking construct and contending the lecturer’s argument or facts.

With either scenario the student learns little from the lecture and can be a disruptive influence on their colleagues. Their poor listening skills means they place what they hear in the category of right or wrong. They superimpose a  judgement on what they hear.

The good listener assimilates the content of the lecture, endeavours to validate and contextualise what is purported and stores the points of information for future reference. Their mindset is not what is right or wrong but rather it allows them to gain and absorb knowledge and thereby develop their mind and skills for more intelligent debate. All points of debate and discussion will have a balance in terms of perspective, application and interpretation and individual opinions will naturally diverge as we relate situations to our experience.

You can develop strong communication skills through the practice of keeping in the third party space and rather than offering your personal opinion, engage in the third party.

‘ That's interesting and why do you think…?’ rather than ‘ I disagree. I think….’

Strong communication skills are vital to developing a successful leadership profile and is the mentality all managing directors and chief executives must adopt when managing board meetings to achieve a censorial outcome.

Here the CEO will conduct and guide the discussion so that the agenda is adhered to and all opinions are voiced. This can be challenging as boards will be composed of a divergence of personalities including the domineering type who needs to curtailed and the passive type who needs to be encouraged. This skill must be the personification of the ideal listening profile.

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