Be a listening leader?
In the previous two posts, we covered what it is like when we are Listening To someone, how a listening leader should practice Listening For, and in this third post we will cover how a listening leader can Listen With.
The three forms of listening are: Listening To, Listening For, and Listening With.
Listening With can be described as listening with the whole self. Listening With includes listening with the heart, listening with intuition, and listening with the body. (Williams & Menendez, 2015)
Practicing Listening With
Listening With entails listening to the emotions being expressed by the person, the words chosen, the metaphors utilized, and the overall picture being painted. I have found this type of listening to be the most challenging. For example, when a person tells a story that appears to be a tangent, my mind can start to drift which reduces my focus on listening with the person. If I contrast that with just choosing to go with the person on their journey and Listen With empathy and with an open mind, this helps me understand their perspective and possibly how the story provides insight.
The Leader Who Listens With
Listening With is a valuable skill in building relationships, resolving conflicts, and fostering understanding and empathy between individuals or groups. It helps create a safe and supportive environment for open communication and can lead to better outcomes and stronger connections.
Leaders should seek to continue to grow and develop. In your next one-on-one with a member of your team, try practicing Listening With by simply going with the person during the conversation and listen with empathy and with an open mind. Ask yourself: What did I discover about this person or topic? What is it like to be in their shoes? What did I notice that would help advance the conversation?
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Williams, P., EdD, & Mendendez, D. S., PhD. (2015). Becoming a Professional Life Coach 2nd Edition: Lessons From The Institute For Life Coach Training. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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