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.