Listening for other points of view

This month we’ve been looking at the MnSCU leadership competency identified as Communicates Effectively.  One of the attributes of this competency is “Listens carefully and understands differing points of view.”

We’re all familiar with a variety of active listening skills.  It’s important to know how to focus, be present, and paraphrase what the other person is saying.   We also know the importance of understanding differing points of view.  Earlier blog posts have provided some tools for seeking out differences and welcoming diverse viewpoints to the table.

While none of the listening skills described above are easy, actually making changes in my thoughts and behavior is even harder.  I recently found a challenging list of questions that help to indicate whether my leadership behaviors demonstrate this competency.

Leadership Questions*

  • What major area have I changed my mind about in the last three months?
  • How long has it been since my assumptions about something important were absolutely dead wrong?
  • What have I learned this semester that makes my actions last semester seem less effective?
  • Who am I close to who thinks very differently than I do, and what have I learned from that person?
  • What was the last skill I learned with my colleagues?  What was the last skill I learned from my colleagues?
  • How long has it been since I lost an important argument with one of my colleagues?

*Modified from Chip R. Bell, Managers as Mentors, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1996

Which of these questions resonate with you?  Which ones are the most challenging?

Dee Anne Bonebright


One response to “Listening for other points of view

  1. Good post, i will share with my friends.


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