If the Boss Says Listening is Important are You Listening to Them?

by Michael Haberman on March 5, 2012 · 2 comments


I have long known that a key skill to being an effective leader is how well you listen. It also happens to be a key skill for an effective HR professional. In a recent article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake was asked what the most important lesson he had learned in the business world. His response was “The importance of listening and really drawing people out in terms of their knowledge, and going down through the organization to get that.” That statement then prompted my question, if the boss says listening is important are you listening to them?

I think we will all agree that many people don’t do a very good job of listening. Parents often don’t and spouses are notorious for not listening. We often value friends for being a “good ear”, but realize that the “good ear” is an all-to-often rarity. Thus I think we can agree that listening, not just hearing, is not a natural skill that automatically comes to people. Just because someone gets promoted to a supervisory or managerial position it does not mean they have the skill set to be an effective listener. In many cases they do not.

That begs the question then, if we recognize it is so important how do we develop and encourage and reward the development of that skill. How many companies ACTUALLY TRAIN managers to be effective listeners? And what does it take? Is a single class sufficient? (That might depend on how well the students were listening.) Does anyone ever rate a manager on his listening skills? What would be the metric for that?

The article does not state whether Home Depot has classes for managers on listening skills or they only make someone a manager if they already has that skill set. But if they do not train managers on listening skills, yet the “boss” says it is so important they why aren’t they listening to him?

Obviously I have more questions than answers, so I am “listening” for your answers.

(Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday March 4, 2012 5 Questions for the Boss, by Henry Unger)

Be Sociable, Share!

Sign up for free HR Solutions updates via email

Omega HR Solutions, Inc. uses creative human resource solutions to provide answers to time, money and service issues with employers and their employees. Visit our Products and Services page for more information or contact us to learn how we can help your organization.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Al Smith March 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

Love this Mike. Great seeing you yesterday. I just submitted a guest post on LEADERSHIP the other day. An acronym. The “L” was for Listen. Listening seems to be a lost art. I don’t believe it can be taught in a single class. It needs to be learned and practiced on a daily basis. Our natural instinct is not to listen, but to talk and yes, many people are promoted to manager positons that do not listen. There are a lot of owners and CEO’s who don’t listen too well, either. For most, it is the human EGO that gets in the way.

Lose the ego and learn to listen.
Learn to Listen. Listen to Learn.
We truly connect to others by listening to them.
We need to value the other person enough to listen.
When we listen, they know we care.

Great quote from “Just Listen” by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
“Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention”

Al

Reply

Al Smith March 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

Hi Mike. Great seeing you yesterday. Love this post. Listening seems to be a lost art. I recently submitted a guest post on LEADERSHIP. An acronym. The “L” was for Listen. It is crucial. So many so called leaders, managers and people in general, simply don’t know how to listen. It can’t be taught in a one day class. It has to be practiced and learned on a daily basis. For life. For me, it all starts with ego.

Lose the ego and learn to listen. Learn to listen and listen to learn. We truly connect with others by listening. We have to value the other person enough to want to listen. When we listen, they know we care.

Two great quotes; “Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention” and one that was addressed to me. “Never miss the opportunity to shut the hell up”. Thanks again Mike. Take care.

Al

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: