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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #58

It's No Fluke That SILENT is an Anagram for ... LISTEN!

Yes, SILENT and LISTEN are spelled with the same letters, rearranged. While these two different words are unique because they share the same letters—what they also share is much more profound.

In essence, these two words are very closely aligned. When combined into a single coordinated strategy, they describe a leadership behavior that's touted as one of the most powerful and effective ways to engage employees. I'm describing the art (and discipline) of knowing when to be silent and listen—truly listen.

If you think about it, the power of listening is probably one of the most underrated—certainly one of the most underutilized—skills that we learn as children and on into life. We all want to be heard and to be heard we need to ... talk. But the paradox here is if we're all talking, is there anyone available to do the 'hearing' that's necessary for us to be heard?

Steven R. Covey describes this phenomenon perfectly:

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply."

Here's a thought that sets the stage for this week's HVAs: If one of the most basic and powerful ways to connect with your employees is to listen, then perhaps the most important thing we can do—and this is free (yes, it costs nothing)—is to be silent and give him/her your undivided attention. It's the ultimate expression of respect (see Quote of the Week).

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

This week (starting today), look for opportunities to "shut up" (sorry, but someone needs to say it!) and LISTEN. These HVAs might help:

  • Silence Is Not Your Cue to Talk: When there is a gap in the conversation, don't feel compelled to fill that gap with your words. Sometimes people struggle to get the right words out to express what's on their mind. By providing some 'silence,' they're able to think and collect their thoughts. They'll appreciate your patience.
  • Make Your "I" Silent: When you're listening to others, silence the thoughts of yourself and process what the person is saying by seeking 'meaning' ... not just what it means to you. Try having a conversation without using the word "I" or, if that's not possible, at least let the other person talk more than you.
  • Leave the 'Judging' to the Courtroom: If you have a brain, you have biases. This means it's very easy to rush to judgment during a conversation. It may not be easy to do, but if you just allow others to 'think out loud' you may be surprised at how often someone comes to the same conclusion that you did—without you having to speak. Just think about how much more meaning it will have when someone finds the clarity they seek with you silently encouraging them onward.

Note: While it might seem simple to stop and listen, because most of us don't currently do it, when we start being silent and listen more, people might think that something is wrong. So you should be ready to explain that you're working on your listening skills and that you really want to understand all of the information that they're giving you. It may take a little while, but they will come to appreciate the fact that you're really trying to be a better listener.

I'd love to hear how these HVAs work for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say."

— Bryant H. McGill —