February 3, 2020

Bill Blalock



“In times of uncertainty, employees crave clarity. As a leader, you won’t always have all of the answers – no one expects you to – so you must be open to listening and learning from others. Once you understand a challenge and outline the options, you have to be confident in making bold and optimistic decisions.” …Marillyn Hewson

Here are some common listening bad habits that will prevent you from becoming the most effective communicator.

  • If an individual repeatedly raises the same issues or points of view to you, as an active listener, the fundamental problem to consider is that the individual is repeating himself because he doesn’t feel you are hearing him. Get clarity from the individual from the very beginning of the conversation.


  • Don’t try to pay partial attention to a person speaking to you. You insult the person and you will never fully comprehend their position or need. When an individual approaches you for advice, inspiration, feedback or a discussion, listen to understand what the individual needs from you. Time is of the essence. A few minutes of conversation indicates your interest in their concern.


  • If you only partially listen, the individual walks away feeling that you don’t care about his or her concerns. It is far better to reschedule the discussion when you have time to listen with your active and deep attention.



  • When you have communicated as best you can, ask how you might help in finding a solution to the individuals concern. In many cases, they just want to be heard. They then know that you care and would be open to their suggestions and/or concerns.


We miss many opportunities for self-improvement and improved corporate governance if we don’t listen actively. Be fully engaged, apply mentally and visually what you are hearing, share your related experiences and provide honest support and constructive feedback. If you have concerns, challenge the “idea” and motivate the individual to take appropriate action. If it is a shared solution – engage and continue to actively listen.

What are you hearing?