Art of Listening

Viktor Frankl, a great psychiatrist of the 20th century once told the story of a woman, who called him in the middle of the night to calmly inform him she was about to commit suicide. Frankl kept talking to her on the phone, giving her reason after reason why she should continue to live. Finally, she promised she would not take her life, and she kept her word.

When they later met, Frankl asked which of his reasons had persuaded her to live?

Can you guess what she said?

She told him, “None of them”

What then influenced her to want to live, Frankl asked?

Her answer was simple…

It was Frankl’s willingness to listen to her in the middle of the night.

A world in which there was someone ready to listen to another’s pain felt like a world in which it was worthwhile to live.

LISTENING indeed is one of the best gifts one can give someone.

ART OF LISTENING is the most essential prerequisite of Leadership. Yet how many of us pay attention to the quality of our listening?

Listening is hearing fully, accurately, attentively, and precisely to every word being spoken, along with the accompanying feeling and emotion expressed. You are totally with that person.

Leadership demands that we start observing the quality of our listening. When we learn to listen authentically, we experience everyone listening to us. As a leader, employer, employee, or team member, if you are not feeling listened to, or if people are not listening to what you are saying, you experience a loss of power.

It is only when we listen to someone deeply that we can connect to them, bond with them, and feel a relatedness.

  • Listening is an institution by itself.
  • The quality of our listening speaks volumes about who we truly are.
  • The quality of our listening is directly proportional to the quality of our communication.

What can potentially dilute the quality of communication is conditioned listening. A bias, judgment, or partial listening can diminish the quality of communication. When that happens, we are listening to our interpretation of what is being said, and the quality of communication gets compromised.

Let us do a simple exercise.

May I ask you to recollect just one incident from your life where you felt not listened to, be it by your boss, or team leader, partner, or spouse, or whoever else? Now answer the following for yourself:

  • What was the impact of this experience on your life?
  • What did you go through?
  • How did you feel?
  • How long did those thoughts keep popping up?
  • What changed for you because of that one experience?
  • What could have been different had you been authentically listened to?

These answers could be your guidelines when you intend to take your listening to the next level.

Authentic wholehearted listening is essential for engaging deeply, and potentially opening the doors to new possibilities.

Be a generous listener to be a successful Leader.


Rita Chadha
Rita Chadha
“Fifth Element is the imperceptible vital energy that permeates all nature, and creates Alchemy of Mind, Body, and Soul.” Rita founded Fifth Element with the mission of utilising this vital energy for the transformation of suffering and struggle into joy, leadership, success, and prosperity in the professional and personal arena. Rita is a Leadership Coach, Life Coach, and Mentor. She strongly believes that Life does not happen to you, YOU create it. Your Inner World is the main arena of creation, and life situations are merely the projection. She emphasises the need to have a leadership mindset for optimizing your ability to achieve and exceed professional/personal goals. Her intuitive Coaching style is unique with deep listening and the ability to hold the space for her clients that encourages them to be empowered into accountability and collaboration leading to phenomenal growth. Her energetic yet easy demeanour makes people relax and authentically share themselves. Her ability to make herself easily vulnerable in the sessions and her wisdom, empathy, and understanding make it easy for people to dig within and speak their innermost thoughts and deepest stored emotions. The professionalism with which the deeply rooted storage of so many non-progressive past experiences is given a closure helps people in moving forward like a leader. She is high on Integrity and connectedness and loves to experiment with the intriguing and limitless dynamics of the human mind potential. She realises that it is often not comfortable for people to accept some hidden parts and patterns. To make the process easier, she utilises a multidimensional approach. Coaching is an Inside-out transformation where shifts happen inside. Rita simultaneously utilises Feng Shui Consultancy for the living and working premises as an Outside-in transformation. Shifting the energy in their environment becomes instrumental in the transformation of the intrinsic behaviour patterns of the individual/s and shows up as enhanced quality of life experiences, making their journey easier. An additional benefit is that it impacts all the aspects of business and all the people therein. The outcome is extraordinary, sustainable, and results in exponential growth.

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  1. Welcome aboard, hope we will have the chance to interact through LinkedIn, or some shared group.
    Listening implies giving up momentarily to express oneself and this is a sacrifice. However, there are also many advantages, as evidenced by the growing importance given to the art of listening also in the workplace.
    Without listening, any communication would be just a useless monologue. Without the ability to listen, it is not possible to understand the other and resolve or avoid conflicts. Even truly loving the other presupposes listening.
    Knowing how to listen to others is fundamental in any interpersonal or social relationship. From the relationship with the people we care about to the relationship with customers or competitors, the world just can’t do without people who know how to listen.

  2. Welcome Rita!
    Love your insights here: “Be a generous listener to be a successful Leader.” This is so on point and critical.
    You would think listening is ‘easy’, but in fact it is a skill that must be practiced. Sometimes we are so busy preparing our response, we lose what is actually being said. Here is to great leaders who listen!

  3. Congrats Rita for writing this immensely important post.
    I find that the power of humanity is listening because it brings humans closer together.

    Your story about the lady who stopped from committing suicide because of somebody caring to listen to her shows the power of listening.
    We need to listen to the sound of wisdom in your thorough post..

    • Yes Ali, I agree that listening can potentially bring humanity closer together. It can establish authentic connections.
      Thanks for your appreciation.

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