The counterpart of Inquiry is Listening. As we are often in telling mode and we value doing over being, listening may not come naturally. I assume that we could all use the exercise below and repeat it from time to time.
I myself have to slow down, focus my attention and practice patience. I’m always tempted to jump in and add to the conversation and steer toward solutions. But when I don’t a deeper understanding may evolve and the other person can find their own insights and solutions.
Train yourself to listen
An interesting exercise is to set a timer for 5 minutes (that can feel as an eternity) and to ask the other to talk about what matters now. (Or prompt this exercise with any other question).
You are not allowed to interrupt, to suggest anything. You are there to “hold the space with your attention and presence” and to listen.
Even if you say nothing, you will influence what the other is telling. If the other person takes 5 minutes with another listener, their story and insights will change…
Next, switch roles.
This listening exercise needs an explanation why you do it and it needs to be safe. Your purpose could be to train your listening skills and/or to bond with your colleague. This can be done in teams (people split into pairs), or in threesomes with two listeners.
I’ve seen magic happen if you apply this within a team. It doesn’t take too much time but it changes the vibe for sure.
How well do you listen? What could you do to enhance your listening skills?
This is book post #56 – Part “YOU”
By the way, if you want to contribute to a positive workplace culture, my next open workshop on Positive Culture Change Leadership is scheduled for May 2018! More information and registration is available at a first come first serve basis.
Copyright © Marcella Bremer 2017. All rights reserved.
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