Can you think of someone in your life, someone very close to you, who often says to you, “You just don’t listen to me?” Well, I am guilty of that, and I am working on it.

We all know the importance of listening in developing and sustaining a relationship. It is better to understand than be understood. Your team members, the people you lead, expect that of you. They want to be understood. In other words, what they say matters.

To be clear, listening is not hearing. Hearing is a physical act. Listening is more
intentional and emotional. When we hear, we accept sounds. We are engaged in an active versus passive activity when we listen intentionally.

In his book, “The Little Big Things,” author and business consultant Tom Peters discusses listening as a core competency every relationship must possess. One of the keys I have found for effective listening is to focus less on ourselves (What we want to say when the other person stops talking—hurry up, I have something important to say) and emphasize the other person.

Psychologists refer to intentional heartfelt listening with your eyes as listening with the third ear. We want the other person to feel that they are the most important person to you then. When you are one-to-one with someone, and they feel devalued, it is almost impossible to have a connection. No connection can lead to no influence. No influence can lead to your leadership being devalued. If your leadership is degraded- guess what? You are not showing—not the outcome you intended.

This is just a reminder always to listen—we can learn more that way.