It is easy to feel like there is not much one person can do to fight against hate and create positive change. The sheer amount of divisiveness in our world is overwhelming. One thing we can do is listen. We can be better listeners in our homes, workplaces, and communities.

There’s one catch—listening is much harder than speaking. But as we know, the ability to listen is a critical skill for leaders and change makers. If deep listening doesn’t happen, it’s hard to develop empathy, share perspectives, and work together. And since humankind is dependent on collaboration, it’s a good idea to improve listening & team work skills.

Listening and collaboration, like any skillset, take practice and are applied differently with each context or new challenge. Improving a set of skills take time and practice, and no one ever said it was easy, but it is possible. The first step is to enter every conversation with an open mind—acknowledge and move past your own biases. This will help you listen with empathy, which in turn creates psychological safety and trust.

Trust only comes with mutual respect and dialogue, but it is the keystone that allows groups (large and small) to establish the other fundamental elements of effective co-creation: goal alignment, shared leadership, and information/resource sharing.

So, try listening. You just might learn something and make the world a better place at the same time.

Tools for Teams

People Styles Start by understanding where people are coming from – their unique communication style. People Styles is based on observable behavior, so no need to worry about remembering letters and colors. Here’s a snapshot…or you can read the book.

60-second share Each time you meet with your team, give each person 60 seconds to share out about what’s going on with them – at home, at work or otherwise. Don’t interrupt or comment…just listen.

Big Questions

Ask BIG QUESTIONS to help you grow…

  1. When do you feel respected & heard?
  2. How will you incorporate more empathic listening into your life?
  3. What can you do at work to ensure more voices are heard?

More Reading & Resources

  1. Bolton & Bolton. (2008). People Styles
  2. Duhigg, C. (2016). “What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team.” NYTimes Magazine.
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