Blog Article

Listening is More Than Just Hearing

In order to be able to respond better and without emotions, we need to listen more. This is key to creating connections in the leadership journey.

November 15, 2022
November 7, 2023
Tina Ruseva

Phyllis Sarkaria (founder of The Sarkaria Group) delivered a deeply insightful webinar titled, “Courageous Clarity: Actions that Create Connections”. In case you missed it, you can watch it on demand.

In addition, we’d like to provide a recap of her top points and our key takeaways.

#1 The GPS Concept Can Allow You to Succeed as a Leader

Get Ready for the Journey: helps you determine where you are now.

Pay attention Along the Way: provides tools to understand the behaviors that impact trust, increase your influence, and improve communication for better results.

Slow Down to Assess and Adjust: address the inevitable obstacles that occur in every leadership journey.

#2 Humans are Trained to Talk & Tell Much More than They Are to Ask or Listen

Talking without taking time to listen will cause one to act without forethought. We’ve been raised in an environment where having answers for things is rewarded but does being the smartest person in the room really build trust?

In order to be able to respond better and without emotions, we need to listen more. This is key to creating connections in the leadership journey.

Humans are Trained to Talk & Tell Much More than They Are to Ask or Listen

#3 Intentions are Fundamental to Building Trust

We need to be intentional in order to create lasting and trusting relationships, but this is not just about your intentions; it’s also about how you are perceived by those you’re leading. “Because the more you're perceived to be all about me, the lower trust is likely to be.” The building blocks of trust are dependability, credibility, care, and respect.

#4 Listening is More Than Just Hearing

Our brains work to prioritize and make sense of the information that we perceive to be relevant and based on our own experiences. And because of this, we sometimes end up missing the most vital piece of information. Listening well can help build rapport, enhance relationships, create greater connections, and increase opportunities to discover new information.

” How well and frequently you listen to others is a better predictor of your leadership potential than your actual intelligence or personality.”

-Dr. Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic, psychologist, author, and entrepreneur

#5 When a Leader Speaks, Others Stop Talking and Align Themselves Around the Leader

Always ask yourself:

Will this comment improve commitment?

Will this comment improve my relationship?

Am I commenting to help others or to show how smart I am (or to be right)?

In addition to observing yourself, listen to team members. Are they commenting to add value, or to be clever?

Ultimately for leaders, the superpower of muting yourself is incredibly valuable. Our knowledge, comments, and experiences can cause others to shut down. So always challenge yourself: how long can you go in a meeting without commenting?

#6 Curious, Open-Ended, Non-Toxic Questions Increase Connection & Engagement

Open-ended questions give you the opportunity to flip the script through powerful inquiry.

Let go of what you “know” and ask yourself:

-Where am I not looking?

-What conversation am I avoiding?

-What is it I’m assuming?

-Did I listen more or talk more today?

-If success were guaranteed, what would I try?

Ask others:

-What questions would you ask about this challenge?

-What if that isn’t true?

-What information do you need to make a decision?

-How will tackling this issue change things for you?

Final Questions & Action Plan

When thinking of your priorities in your journey, and in all your busyness, ask yourself this: if you repeat what you do today 364 more times, will you be where you want to be in one year?

What are three or four pieces of information you learned from this email you can put into action for your next week?

What is one thing you can start doing differently based on your list?

What is one thing you can stop doing to be more effective?

What’s one action or one behaviour you want to continue doing?

Key Takeaways: Supercharge your Connections

Courage: Get out of your comfort zone and strengthen work relationships with greater trust and collaboration.

Humility: Let go of ego. Open up your curiosity, listen to understand, and speak to what is possible.

Discipline: Adopt a disciplined approach to focus on top priorities. Slow down to assess and adjust so that you can respond and not react.

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