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Listen, Really Listen

We highlighted listening last July with our guest blogger, Dr. Larry Prybil (See Part 1 and Part 2) and although I had not planned on writing another post on listening so soon, last week reminded me that it is critically important that we listen to all members of our team in order to come up with the best solution and achieve the collective impact we want to achieve.  Join me this week as we discuss 3 reasons it is incredibly important that we listen, really listen to those on our teams.

Last week, our daughter had breathing difficulties associated with a cold that went to her chest.  She had something very similar last October and we had our first visit to the hospital. It was scary, but the doctors and others listened, really listened to our entire story. We worked together on a solution and she was better overnight and able to go home late the next day. Last week, we had a similar situation and once again went to the hospital hopeful that they would be able to care for her well just as they did previously. However, they did not listen. They had their ways of doing things, their plans, their interventions and they pushed them on us. Thankfully, she did eventually improve; however, we spent two nights in the hospital and she suffered much more than she did previously.  This experience taught me the importance of listening, particularly when we are the ones who are the decision-makers. There are three reasons, it’s really important that we take the time and the stance of listening to others on our teams.

  1. We cannot know everything.  There is no way that we can fully know all of the aspects or specifics of a situation or complex problem. We know what we know, but there are ALWAYS many things we do not know. If we are willing to be humble and listen, really listen, we can learn critical information that will help us make a much more informed decision.
  2. We cannot see everything.  Similarly to the first area, there are things that we do not see because of our experiences and our biases. We often don’t even know we have them, but we do!  We need to recognize that there are things that others may be able to see that we just cannot see. We must consider the perspective of others and encourage them to show us things that we cannot see so that we can make the best decisions possible for our teams and partnerships.
  3. If we don’t listen, we risk missing out on the most effective and efficient solution.  Just as my story illustrated, when folks listened we had one night in the hospital and when they didn’t, we had two.  Now perhaps we still would have had two nights in the hospital – I don’t know that for sure; however I do know that in my experience in working with other teams that when we don’t listen and really listen to others, we can have significant delays and miss out on finding the most effective solutions to our complex problems.  It’s also important for all team members to listen. Even if someone is not the decision maker, if she sets a tone and is unwilling to listen, it can impact the entire team. We must advocate for everyone listening, really listening.

How are you going to listen, really listen to your team this week?

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