We have all heard the saying as we were growing up, “You have two ears and one mouth. You should listen twice as much as you speak.” You may have even repeated the saying as you pass on some wisdom [and received in return an expression similar to the one captured here].
Listening is hard to do. We want to be sure everyone around us is aware of everything we know, at least on our “expert topics.” The more we speak without listening first, the more opportunities there are to have no one listening. Oh, there may be someone staring at you, but the ears are shut down and the mind is on to solving other problems. The most important problem of needing a quick exit from the conversation being solved first.
Leading others requires listening. Listening first provides context to the conversation. It also expresses concern for the other person.
If you persevere beyond surface-level listening, past the obligatory banter and introductory chit-chat, and dig deeper by asking questions of the one with whom you are talking, your reward will be great. Your understanding of the other person will expand. Your ability to help will increase. Your effectiveness in communicating your vision, direction, or solution as a leader will explode.
Listen twice as much as you speak.
How do you show you are listening to others? What are other benefits of listening, and really hearing the other person share what is on their mind?