3 Prerequisites to Listening

by Dr Scott Yorkovich

February 16, 2016

WE ALL KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO LISTEN. There are many books, blogs, and articles about listening. You can go to seminars that teach you how to listen. The issue of listening is addressed in every dimension of life: marriage, parenting, work, church life, community development, and so on. Somehow, while we all deeply yearn to be listened to, most of us need to get better at doing it. That’s why we have all the books, seminars, and other resources. There’s something that most of these tools do not address, though. They do not address the prerequisites to listening.

Before I talk about three prerequisites to listening, I want to clarify what kind of listening I have in mind. I’m talking about the kind of listening that makes others feel cared for and valued. This is listening that helps people open up with their real thoughts and concerns. This is the listening that helps followers feel an emotional connection and then openly share what is on their heart and mind. 

Real listening facilitates the trust, openness, and communication that leaders and followers must have to work together in meaningful and significant ways. Real listening also facilitates coaching and development conversations. These are the conversations we need to have with one another to encourage leadership growth throughout the organization.

Keep in mind that listening should not be an event or limited to a conversation. It is a long-term process. The process does not start with “Tom, I’ve got something on my mind. Do you have a few minutes?” No. It starts much earlier than the face-to-face or telephone interaction. 

Listening begins with the attitude and environment that you, the leader, establish long before a conversation or situation occurs. These three prerequisites will go a long way to helping you be an effective listener . . .

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