I reckon if I asked managers how they could improve their conversations, the majority would have suggested things like using appropriate language or being engaging or entertaining or even simply being more confident to say what needs to be said.
I don’t think so many would have said “improve my listening skills” as when we think about better communication we tend to focus on transmission rather than reception.
Listening, NO REALLY LISTENING as it is such an important skill to have for effective conversations and without it, our ability as leaders, managers, HR professionals to build trust will be significantly compromised.
Sometimes we need to be prepared to give people a really good listening to, but if you think about it, it is a component of communication that we are rarely taught, unless we do some form of coaching or counselling course where listening skills are definitely important but as children, as soon as we start to talk we are encouraged to develop our vocabulary, to talk about different things, we are taught to write, to express ourselves, even encouraged at school to read out loud or stand up and present information – but we are rarely taught how to listen well.
Winston Churchill suggested that “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”– we recognise that sometimes it does take courage to speak out – courageous conversations need to happen in organisations every day – whether the courage to go against the majority, the courage to challenge inappropriate behaviour, the courage to be authentic and tell your boss what you really think – but the courage to listen? What is that all about? Why does it take courage to sit down and listen?
About the Author
Andrea Newton has been helping organisations develop the skill and confidence to have Confident Conversations and get comfortable with the uncomfortable for over 21 years. She has worked across a range of industry sectors and is happiest working in a way that is practical, down to earth, direct and uncomplicated. She prefers a mug to a cup and prefers places that call a spade a shovel ... if you would like to benefit from her expertise and ability to make a room full of people comfortable with subjects as sensitive as suicide, then you can find out more about her (and listen to her podcast series) at www.confidentconversations.co.uk or https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-newton-cc/