The Power of Listening Sparks The Power of Change

The power of listening can affect powerful change. This is why I realize that I need to spend more time coaching my business students on effective listening skills. Why? Because the most successful leaders that I work with are great listeners.

They “seek first to understand” as the late Stephen Covey used to say.

They listen without judgment.

They listen for different perspectives.

They listen for buy-in.

They listen to learn.

New leaders often feel they have to solve all problems and have all of the answers.

It’s quite the opposite. The best leaders CONNECT rather than direct.

To connect, they ask questions, seek to understand, then help their people find the answer on their own. This method takes patience and really, really good listening skills (see the new keys to effective listening).

The article below, written by the very cool Dr. Avraham N. (Avi) Kluger for Harvard Business Review, describes how powerful listening can affect powerful change and gives tips for being a better listener.

The Power of Listening in Helping People Change

The Power of Listening - Dr. Michelle K. JohnstonGiving performance feedback is one of the most common ways managers help their subordinates learn and improve. Yet, research revealed that feedback could actually hurt performance: More than 20 years ago, one of us (Kluger) analyzed 607 experiments on feedback effectiveness and found that feedback caused performance to decline in 38% of cases. This happened with both positive and negative feedback, mostly when the feedback threatened how people saw themselves.

One reason that giving feedback (even when it’s positive) often backfires is because it signals that the boss is in charge and the boss is judgmental. This can make employees stressed and defensive, which makes it harder for them to see another person’s perspective. For example, employees can handle negative feedback by downplaying the importance of the person providing the feedback… read more