“Are you listening to anything I’m saying?” Have you ever had this question asked to you? Better yet, have you ever asked this question in your head to the person you went to for help, advice, or to resolve an issue? There have been many times I have asked myself this question about people I am talking to, but I also know there are times where people have asked the same thing about me. There is a reason we were given two ears and one mouth. We should strive to listen more than we talk.
I am what you might call a “fixer” (no, not a mafia type of fixer). Whenever someone comes to me with a problem or an issue, my knee jerk reaction is to give a solution to the problem. I want to tell the people who come to me how to fix the issue. This isn’t a bad thing, but if not done properly, it could create discord between myself and the individual who came to me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help and give solutions to problems, but we need to make sure we listen before we speak. I have found that some people just need to be heard, and if I give them ideas or solutions, they leave more defeated for not feeling heard.
However, people can walk away not feeling heard even if the person they are talking to says absolutely nothing. The person being talked to makes eye contact, nods their head, and might show they are listening by giving verbal cues, but when the person is done talking, they acknowledge what they had to say and do nothing with it. I call this false listening. People might give cues that they are listening, but in reality, it is going in one ear and out the other. False listening gives the impression that the person that came to you with a problem or issue isn’t worth the time or energy to listen to. I have known quite a few people who have perfected this art of listening. There are many people in political power who have perfected the art of false listening. Either way, false listening is a character issue more than anything.
Listening is not always easy and is a skill many are sorely lacking. However, it is a skill that is needed in every position we hold in life. Everyone from employees, employers, parents, husbands, wives, and so on need to learn the art of listening. It’s more than ear service. Real listening is a genuine interest in what someone is saying and waiting to talk when the time is right. We must engage in the conversation and let the person who is talking know they are important and worth the time. Real and engaging listening should be a part of our character and leadership. After all, leadership is not a title or position, but how one person treats another.
- We need to learn the art of listening. We don’t always have to have something to say, and if we do, we need to wait for the right time to share it.
- Be cautious of False Listening. Don’t just give ear service. Engage fully.
- Listening is a character trait. We will either build a strong character or a weak one.
- Our job is to listen. Be engaged and show that the person you are listening to is worth your time. There is a reason we were given two ears and one mouth.
As always, stay humble and serve well!