November 2, 2018 – Forbes-
I observed Miguel in meetings and discovered something surprising. On the surface, it appeared that Miguel was a good listener. He would nod, smile, make eye contact and say “uh-huh” at the right times. He could even recite back what someone had just said.
When I asked Miguel what was going on, he said, “I’m quick to grasp what someone is saying, but I lose attention after the first few sentences. My mind starts to wander, and before I know it, I’m mentally working on something else.”
Miguel was going through the motions of active listening, but his team was right. He didn’t hear them. While Miguel thought improving his listening skills would be nice, he didn’t view it as an imperative. Then I interviewed his team members and shared their honest comments about the impact his lack of listening was having on their productivity. Some said they had lost their motivation to come up with innovative ideas because Miguel already had his mind made up and seemed uninterested in hearing from them. Others felt frustrated at the time wasted going over the same ground in successive meetings. Many reported they didn’t feel valued, and a couple of star performers revealed they were looking for jobs outside of his team.
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