Mar 2019

Are you listening to respond, or truly listening?

By: Odyssey General
Tags: attentiveness, conversations, listening

Last year I went for a 9 day hike, and got sick likely on the 1st night. It was super cold, and by the next day I could feel the cold starting. As it was a long term hike, I was carrying a small medical kit, but not much in the way that could deal with a cold that was getting worse. By the 9th and last day I was pretty sick, and had lost my voice.  That night, at our celebratory end of hike dinner, I kept quiet the whole time, unable to respond. A couple of interesting things happened:

Firstly, as the table was a French speaking table, I really had time to listen more fully to the conversation going on around me. My comprehension levels increased, as I wasn’t spending time thinking about what I was going to say next. I was just enjoying the conversation.

At the same time, this wasn’t an iPhone screen or computer screen, where we are usually impartial observers. The other people at the table were looking for attentiveness, enjoyment and participation. As I had no ability to speak, I actually was significantly more attentive.

Secondly, and more importantly, as I wasn’t spending time thinking about how I could respond to conversations, or what of my experience I could interject into the conversation, I truly began to listen. Not listening with the object of responding, which is the horrible trap we all fall into, but listening with the object of listening. Simply that.

So what’s the takeaway from this?

Ok, losing your voice is like a crash course in mindfulness for being present. It brings you into the present and allows you to focus your attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.

As a leader, you need to truly listen to your staff, and take the time to consider what they are saying. If you already have the answer to your staff before they complete what they are saying, then you aren’t listening, and you aren’t truly leading. If you already have the answer before your staff start speaking, then you haven’t listened at all.

We don’t need to all lose our voice, but we do need to practice truly listening.

If you don’t have time to truly listen, or don’t have time to implement anything new, then drop us a line on how Odyssey can assist with your Australian bookkeeping and tax compliance work!

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