Leadership and the Lost Art of Listening

Posted by

I heard Richard Branson on the Diane Rehm show, and he spoke about something extremely important for successful leadership: listening. I find Branson’s comments on listening to be spot-on:

“I think not enough business leaders know the art of listening. They love to hear their own voices. And I was fortunate to learn from a young age that other people — by listening to other people, you learn an awful lot more than by listening to yourself.” — Richard Branson

From my experience, listening is a lost art. This holds true particularly for leaders and entrepreneurs.

Why don’t leaders listen? Though Branson jokes that they love to hear their own voices, there are two main reasons. For one, we are never taught how to carefully listen. And secondly, society sets leaders and entrepreneurs up to be expected to have all the answers.

In this clip from my interview with Cornell University, I talk about the three levels of listening, and how leaders can develop relationships and trust if they are able to use all three. I also talk about how important it is for leaders to ask questions. Asking and listening go hand in hand.

Do you you find that you are good at fully listening to others? Is listening a challenge for you? I’d love to hear your ideas about why listening may be difficult for leaders. Also, if you have experience working on your listening skills, let us know what steps you have taken. Please share in the comment section below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter.

Read the full transcript of Richard Branson’s interview on the the Diane Rehm here. 

Get Monthly Leadership Tips from Anne Loehr
Is your leadership ready for the future workplace? 

8 Comments

  1. This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg
    November 18, 2014

    […] Loehr reflected on “Leadership and the Lost Art of Listening.” Are you fully listening to […]

    Reply
  2. Workplace Sexism - Are Female Bosses Listening?
    December 27, 2014

    […] sexism in particular, still has a long way to go in many respects. While there are certainly a number of things any good director or CEO can do to try and root out problems, many often overlook these important […]

    Reply
  3. Three Tips for Managing Communication in a Digital Context
    April 9, 2015

    […] making is all very well and good but it should not be forgotten that one of the most critical communication skills is of course listening. Two key aspects of this skill are summed up rather handily by two of the world’s most […]

    Reply
  4. Why Emotional Intelligence Effects the Bottom Line
    May 4, 2015

    […] that listening comes in three levels. Many people are stuck on the first level, but in order to master the art of listening, leaders must be fluent in all three forms of […]

    Reply
  5. Why Emotional Intelligence Affects the Bottom LineMy Weight Loss Blog | My Weight Loss Blog
    May 18, 2015

    […] that listening comes in three levels. Many people are stuck on the first level, but in order to master the art of listening, leaders must be fluent in all three forms of […]

    Reply
  6. Why Emotional Intelligence Affects the Bottom Line | AGReGate.info
    May 18, 2015

    […] that listening comes in three levels. Many people are stuck on the first level, but in order to master the art of listening, leaders must be fluent in all three forms of […]

    Reply
  7. What We Want Our Future Leaders To Know
    July 24, 2015

    […] Listening is vital to success, yet few people do it well. It takes a strong person to put aside everything, focus and truly listen to the person who is speaking. […]

    Reply
  8. Dear Generational Guru… -
    December 3, 2015

    […] own values and protocols. All of that will influence how you handle the situation. Just focus on truly listening and have an open mind when it comes to developing a solution that works for both of you. Once that […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply