Listening and blind spots

Listening is a crucial skill for all types of leadership, but it’s especially important for leading diverse groups.  A recent blog from Harvard Business Review included some good tips for listening past your blind spots.

Authors Mark Goulston and John Ullmen have identified four levels of listening.

  1. Level One: Avoidance Listening = Listening Over.  At this level, listeners are not seeking to connect. They may not even stop texting!
  2. Level Two: Defensive Listening = Listening At.  Level two listeners are busy preparing their counter-points rather than seeking to understand the speaker’s message.
  3. Level Three: Problem-Solving Listening = Listening To.  Problem-solving and seeking solutions can be an effective way of listening – just be sure that’s what the speaker really wants.
  4. Level Four: Connective Listening = Listening Into.  At this level, the listener is focusing on the speaker and seeking to discover what is important from

It’s almost impossible to connect with diverse audiences without giving your full attention.  Seeking to listen at level four is a good way to ensure that you are fully present.

What techniques do you use to reach level four?

Dee Anne Bonebright

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