Break Out the Office Cake. It Could Change Your Company

cake

By Judith E. Glaser |
Published: May 28, 2014

cake

May kicks off a season of celebrations, with Mother’s Day, Graduations, Weddings and Father’s Day. These events mark happy milestones where we recognize the people who are important in our lives and show them our appreciation. The season can teach companies a few lessons since our work lives don’t have the same built-in reminders to recognize, measure and reward those who make a successful business run. Great leaders know how essential these elements are to creating a fun place to work, and building a drama-free culture of trust and collaboration.  

Which means that office birthday cakes serve a purpose long after all the slices are doled out. Celebrations work wonders in the brain and meet people’s needs for inclusion, innovation, appreciation and collaboration. By releasing dopamine and other positive neurotransmitters, positive celebrations and intelligent conversations provide ways to socialize and share information while triggering healthy physical and emotional changes in the brain. In fact, the need for celebration is greater than the need for safety. Feeling socially excluded actually activates some of the same neural regions that are activated in response to physical pain and leads disengaged staffers to physically or emotionally check out.

Such social exclusion can create a vicious cycle. Disengaged employees can seem  uncooperative or unreasonable. Their managers, in response, can act counter-productively, avoiding these staffers, talking poorly about them, or passing them to HR ‘to be fixed.’ The tension isn’t relieved until the staffers are fired or decide on their own to quit. In the meantime, everyone involved resigns themselves to low satisfaction and performance.

These negative behaviors signal one thing: that the social and psychological needs that drive performance are not being met. All people have deep-seated needs for meaning, purpose, connection, and inclusion. These are needs that they want—and expect—to fulfill at work. Managers and staffers need to feel connected to each other and included in the decisions that impact their jobs. They also need to feel appreciated for their hard work and achievements and challenged to take risks.

Celebrating is just another way to build connections, leveraging social and psychological needs to fuel growth and productivity. Make it part of your culture to publicly recognize and thank coworkers for their contributions. Set milestones that bring groups together to work toward goals they can feel good about achieving. Make it easy for colleagues to know each other, either through happy hours or a break room designed for conversation. Celebrate the meeting of a need, and you can expect this need to become increasingly met going forward; fail to celebrate the meeting of a need and expect demoralization.

Navigational Listening

navigational-listening

By Judith E. Glaser |
Published: May 23, 2014

navigational-listeningFor a leader, listening is perhaps the most important component of communication. It’s essential for moving ideas from one person to another. Done well, it will enable you to collect information for timely and effective decision-making. The listening adult’s mind is never blank or completely impartial. Our listening is influenced by events, relationships and experiences — all adding to what we hear and its meaning. As objective as we would like to think we are when we listen, we actually are not.
We are also subject to the effects of our physical and emotional states. Being tired, angry, elated or stressed predisposes us to selective listening. These two forces — history plus emotional state — make up our listening capability at any point in the day.

Think of Yourself as a Listener
Try to recall a recent situation when you were a listener. It may have been a speech delivered by an executive, a discussion with a subordinate or an explanation from a peer. Did you listen to facts or to specific words? Did you paraphrase these words in your mind? Did the situation lead to new impressions, feelings and ideas? Were you affected by how the speaker stood, the volume of her voice or her appearance?
Did the speaker’s emotional tone bother you? Were you evaluating his effectiveness as a communicator? Or were you so preoccupied that you didn’t listen at all or only hear a little of what was said?
Still another question: What guided your listening? Individuals who hear the same speech often walk away with different impressions of what they heard.

The Untrained Listener
We hear one-seventh as fast as we think. While our mind has the time to listen, evidence suggests that we don’t always use that time well. Traditionally, ineffective listening has been viewed as a hearing problem. However, as we gain important new information about the effects of this uniquely human process on the effectiveness of an organization, we recognize that ineffective listening is much more.

Consider some of these common types of listening behavior in business:

  • “Noise in the Attic” Listening
    Like many people, some of us think that being a good listener is merely sitting silently while others talk. Outwardly, we appear to be listening. Inwardly, however, our mind is elsewhere, or we are making judgments about earlier comments. We end up preoccupied with our own internalizations.
  • “Face Value” Listening
    Sometimes, we think we are hearing facts when actually the words we’re hearing are our interpretations of situations or figures. This explains why executives, managers and staff sometimes differ dramatically in what they think they hear.
    Interpretations are influenced by our experiences. The more experiences we have, the more we should be able to interpret what we hear from the speaker’s perspective. Unfortunately, many adults hear only what they want to hear.
  • “Position” Listening
    We interpret the messages we hear by our position in the organization or concerns as a member of the organization. Employees, for instance, are constantly alert for clues to how their performance is being rated, reading their own interpretations into messages. A manager might listen to her president’s annual report to determine whether her division will be financed to grow further. What she hears in that talk could easily affect her performance during the year, as well as her relationships with co-workers. In business, executives need to focus on the interpersonal influencing process.

Navigational Listening
This is the style of listening that makes us better executives. It accepts that listening is not an end in itself but a part of a chain of processes that ends in a decision, strategy or change in behavior or viewpoint.
When driving to some place new, we often stop at a gas station for a map to navigate in unfamiliar territory. We need the map to drive efficiently and with less chance of an accident. If we get lost, we need only refer back to the map to find our way. Listening can be approached the same way.

Creating the Maps
Why we’re listening determines the type of information we listen for. Salespeople listen for customer concerns. Lawyers listen for their opponent’s faulty logic. Freudian psychiatrists listen for unconscious motivations. Training has taught all of them not to listen at face value and to use the time lag between their hearing and subsequent speaking to properly evaluate what is being said. At the same time, they don’t dismiss their emotional response to the speaker, their “feel” for the situation or their hunch of what might happen next.

A framework telling them how to influence a person’s thinking from Point A to Point B also guides these professionals. In sales, the marketing rep wants to influence a customer from a point of no interest to a commitment to buy. The lawyer tries to influence the jury to his or her point of view. The psychiatrist works to influence the patient toward new insights about personal behavior, motivations or a view of the world.

The Executive as Navigational Listener
In business, executives need to focus on the interpersonal influencing process. Who is being influenced to move him from Point A to Point B and why? Where is this conversation going? To what ideas, beliefs and behaviors is this person most committed in his life? Which of these ideas, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors need to be influenced for the person to be more effective on the job?

What do I know about this individual that will help me better understand her and what is being said? Are her problems or concerns such that we can effect real changes, or are they out of reach in the business context?

The executive examines the way he or she answers the employee to see how these answers affect the listening process. Will the employee listen better if the answers are short and sweet (“yes” or “no”), or will listening improve if these statements contain more background information? What kind of information will be helpful? What kind of questions will open thinking and facilitate connections that lead to greater insights and wisdom along the way?

In practicing navigational listening, the executive listens carefully to the employee’s answers — to phrasing and context used to get clues to the real meanings behind their words. Navigational listening expands the ability for both the manager and the employee to emerge smarter, more connected and more conversationally intelligent by opening up new insights that goes beyond the obvious — insights that reveal true wisdom.

– See more at: http://blog.c-suitenetwork.com/navigational-listening/#more-566

Skillsoft Announces Live Leadership Event with Focus on Building Trust through Conversational Intelligence

business-wire-skillsoft

Press release | marketwatch.com
Published: May 21, 2014

business-wire-skillsoftNASHUA, N.H., May 21, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Skillsoft today announced its latest Live Event featuring author Judith Glaser, whose book “Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results” will guide the interactive presentation on business leadership. The event will take place June 10, 2014 from 12:00-1:30pm EDT, and is now open to all corporate professionals interested in Skillsoft’s leadership development solutions, in addition to Skillsoft Leadership Channel and Advantage series customers.

Registration for this exclusive event is open online to leadership and corporate professionals. Skillsoft is a pioneer in the field of technology-delivered learning with a long history of innovation and delivering solutions for its customers worldwide, ranging from global enterprises, government and education to mid-sized and small businesses.

Through story-telling and practical exercises, Glaser will translate neuroscience research into pragmatic and powerful conversational tools that business leaders can use to develop trust, partnerships and mutual success with their employees and peers. In a high-energy session, participants will learn tools, practices, and frameworks to elevate their conversations and positively impact their organizations’ future success. Glaser will present a new framework that outlines which conversations trigger the lower brain and what activates the higher-level intelligences – empathy, foresight, good judgment and trust. Additional takeaways include:

  • The neuroscience of conversations – including what conversations open and close our brains, and why we need to know this;

  • The five conversational blind spots that lower our Conversational Intelligence, and what to do about them;

  • How to activate, measure and use Three Levels of Conversations; and

  • How to use Conversational Rituals to elevate your C-IQ.

“Skillsoft has long been committed to providing organizations with the tools they need to maximize leadership skills and inspire new approaches for success, and this next program in the Skillsoft Live Event series continues to support that pledge,” said Shawn Hunter, Executive Producer and Vice President of Skillsoft’s Leadership Channel. “We’re very fortunate to be able to work with Judith Glaser to provide this session to business leaders wanting to form more successful partnerships between themselves and their coworkers.”

Skillsoft’s Live Events provide subscribers with cutting-edge thinking in business and leadership through live and interactive presentations featuring the most recognized and sought-after thought leaders and best-selling authors. Skillsoft produces up to seven Live Events annually and offers more than 4,000 video assets from best-selling business authors, speakers and business leaders through the Leadership Channel. To get more information about Skillsoft’s leadership development solutions, please visit http://www.skillsoft.com/business-solutions/leadership-development.asp .

Participants are encouraged to tweet thoughts and questions during each Live Event using the hashtag: #SkillsoftLive

Tweet this: We’re hosting a new @Skillsoft Live Event featuring @JudithEGlaser’s insights on #business #leadership http://bit.ly/1jhtDYa

About Skillsoft

Skillsoft is a pioneer in the field of learning with a long history of innovation. Skillsoft provides cloud based learning solutions for its customers worldwide, ranging from global enterprises, government, and education to mid-sized and small businesses. Skillsoft’s customer support teams draw on a wealth of in-house experience and a comprehensive learning e-library to develop off-the-shelf and custom learning programs tailored to cost-effectively meet customer needs. Skillsoft’s courses, books and videos have been developed by industry leading learning experts to ensure that they maximize business skills, performance, and talent development.

Skillsoft currently serves over 6,000 customers and more than 19,000,000 learners around the world. Skillsoft is on the web at www.Skillsoft.com .

Skillsoft, the Skillsoft logo, Skillsoft Leadership Channel, Skillport, Search & Learn, SkillChoice, Books24x7, ITPro, BusinessPro, OfficeEssentials, GovEssentials, EngineeringPro, FinancePro, AnalystPerspectives, ExecSummaries, ExecBlueprints, Express Guide, Dialogue, Quickskill and inGenius are trademarks or registered trademarks of Skillsoft Ireland Limited in the United States and certain other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE: Skillsoft

Lois Paul and Partners for Skillsoft
Kenna Luguri, 617-986-5879
Kenna_Luguri@lpp.com

Copyright Business Wire 2014

 

Navigational Listening

By Judith E. Glaser |
Published: May 19, 2014

navigational-listeningFOR A LEADER, navigational listening is the most powerful tool for gathering information, for influencing others and for creating transformation; perhaps, at times, more powerful than speaking.

The listening mind is never blank or impartial. Our listening is influenced by events, relationships, and experiences. What we hear is influenced by our history. What we hear is influenced by our feelings in the moment. As objective as we would like to be in our listening, we are subject to the effects of our physical and emotional states. Being tired, angry, elated or stressful predisposes us to selectively attend to what we hear.

Recall a recent situation where you were a listener. Did you listen to facts or to specific words? Did you paraphrase these words in your mind? Did this lead to new impressions? Were you affected by the speaker’s voice, dress, demeanor, mood, or attitude? Were you evaluating the speaker’s effectiveness or importance or were you judging his or her ideas? Or, were you so preoccupied with external things that you didn’t listen at all?

Since we can’t attend to everything we hear, we listen selectively. But what guides our listening? Why do people who hear the same speech often walk away with different impressions? Obviously, they didn’t “hear” the same thing.

We hear one-sixth as fast as we think, and so the mind has the time to construct questions, inferences, and associations. Do we use this time wisely? Do we recognize that ineffective listening is a management problem?

Listening Behaviors

Consider these four types of listening behavior in business:

1. Noise-in-the-attic listening. We may think that being a good listener is merely sitting silently while others talk. Outwardly, we appear to be listening. Inwardly, however, we are listening to the “noise in the attic.” Thus, we are disengaged from the speaker’s ideas and involved in our own mental processes.

Noise-in-the-attic listening tends to develop from childhood experiences. As youngsters, how many of us heard: “Don’t talk while I’m speaking!” “Don’t ask so many questions!” “Why? Because I said so!” Conditioned by these warnings, many of us turn off our minds and habits of inquiry. Instead of clarifying the speaker’s intent, we are preoccupied with our own internalizations: “Who does she think she is?” “I can do his job better than he can.” Or, we may find ourselves planning a trip, remembering a pleasant experience, or even completing a thought—returning from time to time to listen to what is being said. Sound familiar?

2. Face-value listening. When think we are hearing facts, the words we are hearing are interpretations. In face-value listening, the listener isn’t mentally “checking back” into the real world to see whether the words explain what they purport to explain. Words are heard more for their literal meanings, not as tools for understanding. This explains why executives, managers, and staff can differ dramatically in their perceptions. Children use face-value listening, since their experiences are so limited. Our experiences should add depth to our listening.

3. Position listening. Business has its own listening problems. Employees, alert for clues to their performance, are often victims of position listening, a highly partial form of listening. For example: A manager might listen to her president’s annual report to determine whether her division will be growing. What she hears in that talk could easily affect her performance as well as her relationships with coworkers. She will listen to immediate superiors to determine her role. Obviously, position listening can lead to faulty assumptions and destroy the morale of a high-performing team.

4. Navigational listening. Navigational listening is the art of knowing how to listen and how listening affects performance. Listening is not an end in itself, but part of a chain of processes that end in a decision, strategy, or change in behavior or point of view.

Why we listen determines what we listen for. Salespeople listen for customer concerns. Lawyers listen for the opposing speaker’s faulty logic. Psychiatrists listen for unconscious motivations. These bits of information are important for such listeners to do their jobs successfully. Training has taught them not to listen at face value, and to evaluate what is said. At the same time, they don’t dismiss their emotional response to the speaker, their “feel” for the situation, or their hunch of what might happen next. A framework telling them how to influence a person also guides these professionals. In sales, the marketing rep wants to influence a potential customer to a commitment to buy. The lawyer tries to influence the jury to adopt his or her point of view. The psychiatrist works to influence the patient toward new insights about personal behavior, motivations, or view of the world.

Executive as Navigational Listener

Business executives need to focus on interpersonal influence. Who is being influenced and why? What ideas, beliefs, and behaviors need to be influenced for the person to be more effective? What do I know about this person that will help me better understand her and what is being said?

The Conversational Intelligence™ executive examines the way she or he answers the employee. Will the person listen better if the answers are short and sweet or will listening improve if these statements contain more background information? In practicing navigational listening, the executive listens carefully to the employee’s answers—to phrasing, context, and words used to get clues to the real meanings behind the words. The executive will ask questions, rephrase and restate what was heard.

Navigational listening is the most powerful tool of Conversationally Intelligent executives, which helps us peer into the minds of others, enabling us to set more helpful, meaningful, and satisfying objectives for action. When we adopt the framework of navigational questioning and listening as tools, we improve our ability to communicate and make and better decisions.

Read more at: http://connect.forwardmetrics.com/communication/navigational-listening.html

 

What Happens When Trust Is Absent?

trust-is-abent

By Judith E. Glaser | huffingtonpost.com
Published: May 14, 2014

trust-is-abent

Human beings have a need to belong that is now considered by neuroscientists and psychologists to be more powerful than the need for physical safety and security. When we feel we are rejected from our tribe, as when we feel we don’t fit in or are embarrassed in front of others, we often choose to go into “radio silence” rather than openly and honestly address those feelings.

Sadly, many organizations operate in a perpetual state of distrust and fear, where people don’t feel they can speak their truth to each other.

Case in point: A 2002 Golin-Harris survey found that 69 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “I just don’t know who to trust anymore.” A fearful state of mind alters how we see and experience reality, how we interact with others, and how much we are willing to engage, innovate, and speak our mind.

When trust is absent, we see REALITY with threatened eyes, and we:

Reveal less than what we know or what is helpful to move forward
Expect more than what is possible
Assume the worst in others
Look at situations with caution
Interpret communications with fear
Tell secrets we promised not to tell
Yes people to avoid confronting truth

When we are in a state of distrust, the world feels threatening. Threats make us retreat. They make us feel we need to protect. We are more sensitive to feeling wrong, or feeling embarrassed, and we behave differently.

Neuroscientists say that high levels of threat give us an “Amygdala Hijack,” which is when fear networks are activated in our brains and we “fight, flee, freeze, or appease others.”

Here are 7 Universal Threats that give us an Amygdala Hijack:
Tone threat–judgmental or angry tone is felt as a threat to our ego
Hurt threat–threat to our physical safety
Risk and punishment threat–taking risks, fear of failure or making mistakes
Exclusion threat–looking stupid in front of others and being ostracized
Anger threat–fear of someone’s potential anger toward us, and not knowing how to respond
Territory threat–having our territory limited or diminished, or people encroaching on our territory
Status threat–challenge to our status, or making us feel small.

Conversational Intelligence™ & the Neuroscience of Trust
Our level of trust is changed, in many cases, by the way we share information, i.e., through conversations. Conversations trigger physical and emotional changes in our brains and bodies through altering the amounts of two of the most powerful hormones that affect social interaction: oxytocin, which enables bonding and collaboration, and testosterone, which enables our aggressive behaviors.

Conversational Intelligence™ Neuro-tip #2: According to Angelika Dimoka, Ph.D., Temple University, “The brain is where trust lives or dies. Distrust takes place in the lower brain (the Amygdala and Limbic areas) and trust takes place in the higher brain (Prefrontal Cortex).”

Conversational Intelligence™ Neuro-tip #3: Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., professor and head of the Laboratory of Neuro-endocrinology at The Rockefeller University, states, “Trust is a phenomenon that is enhanced by oxytocin, which gets people to be socially interactive. Then you have the Amygdala, which is the sentinel along with the Prefrontal Cortex, paying attention to decide if the interaction is going to be rewarding or punishing. If the inter-action is punishing we feel more aggressive and distrustful. We have to be wary and we move into protect behaviors.” Under stress, testosterone levels are increased.

If the interaction feels good, you have more oxytocin and you relax. Testosterone works against oxytocin as does cortisol, another powerful hormone that is increased by stress. It’s the balance between these hormones and the neural systems they interact with that gives us the feelings of trust or distrust.

Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of four best selling business books, including her newest Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) Visit www.conversationalingelligence.com; www.creatingwe.com; //www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-e-glaser/jeglaser@creatingwe.com” target=”_hplink”>jeglaser@creatingwe.com or call 212-307-4386.

 

What Part of No Don’t You Understand?

Theodore-Kinni

By TheodoreKinni | strategy-business.com
Published: May 14, 2014

Theodore-Kinni

The following is an article excerpt.


I have no idea who first snapped off the classic putdown, “What part of no don’t you understand?” It’s not Shakespeare, but the sentiment is timeless. And I’ll bet that first barb was aimed at a salesman, probably a graduate of Glengarry Glen Ross University.

Until now, I’ve always thought that the correct response to this rhetorical question was to retreat. However, I may be wrong about that.

This jives with something I just read in another new book, titled Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust (Bibliomotion, 2014), by Judith E. Glaser. “Most people assume meaning is embedded in the words they speak,” Glaser writes. “But according to forensic linguists, meaning is far more vaporous, teased into existence through vocalized puffs of air, hand gestures, body tilts, dancing eyebrows, and nuanced nostril flares.”

When Glaser observed pharmaceutical reps making sales calls, she found that if doctors raised concerns about the products being sold, the salespeople usually communicated their displeasure with nonverbal cues, such as stiffened bodies, pained facial expressions, and tense tones of voice. The doctors, in turn, responded by stiffening up themselves and trying to end the sales calls. By now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the company where these reps worked was ranked 39th among 40 pharmaceutical firms in terms of sales effectiveness.


Read the full article here: http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/What-Part-of-No-Dont-You-Understand

Say That Again? Good Listening Equals Good Communication

time-to-listen

By Judith E. Glaser | vistage.com
Published: May 8, 2014

For a manager, listening is perhaps the most important component of communication. It’s essential to move ideas from one person to another. Done well, it will enable you to collect information for timely and effective decision-making.

The listening adult’s mind is never blank or completely impartial. Our listening is influenced by events, relationships and experiences—all adding to what we hear and its meaning. As objective as we would like to think we are when we listen, we actually are not.

We are also subject to the effects of our physical and emotional states. Being tired, angry, elated or stressful predisposes us to selective listening. These two forces—history plus emotional state—make up our listening capability at any point in the day.

Try to recall a recent situation when you were a listener. It may have been a speech delivered by an executive, a discussion with a subordinate or an explanation from a peer. Did you listen to facts or to specific words? Did you paraphrase these words in your mind? Did the situation lead to new impressions, feelings and ideas? Were you affected by how the speaker stood, the volume of her voice or her appearance? Did the speaker’s emotional tone bother you? Were you evaluating his effectiveness as a communicator? Or were you so preoccupied that you didn’t listen at all, or only hear a little of what was said?

Still another question: What guided your listening? Individuals who hear the same speech often walk away with different impressions of what they heard.

We hear one-seventh as fast as we think. While our mind has the time to listen, evidence suggests that we don’t always use that time well. Traditionally, ineffective listening has been viewed as a hearing problem. However, as we gain important new information about the effects of this uniquely human process called listening on the effectiveness of an organization, we recognize that ineffective listening is much more than just a hearing problem.

Consider some of these common types of listening behavior in business:

“Noise in the Attic” Listening. Like many people, some of us think that being a good listener is merely sitting silently while others talk. Outwardly, we appear to be listening. Inwardly, however, our mind is elsewhere or we are making judgments about earlier comments. We end up preoccupied with our own internalizations.

“Face Value” Listening. Sometimes, we think we are hearing facts when actually the words we’re hearing are our own interpretations of situations or figures. This explains why executives, managers and staff sometimes differ dramatically in what they think they hear.

Interpretations are influenced by our experiences. The more experiences we have, the more we should be able to interpret what we hear from the speaker’s perspective. Unfortunately, many adults hear only what they want to hear.

“Position” Listening. We interpret the messages we hear by our position in the organization or concerns as a member of the organization. Employees, for instance, are constantly alert for clues as to how their performance is being rated, reading their own interpretations into messages. A manager might listen to her president’s annual report to determine whether her division will be financed to grow further. What she hears in that talk could easily affect her performance during the year as well as her relationships with co-workers.

In business, executives need to focus on the interpersonal influencing process.

“Navigational Listening.” This is the style of listening that makes us better executives. It accepts that listening is not an end in itself but a part of a chain of processes that ends in a decision, strategy or change in behavior or viewpoint.

When driving to someplace new, we often stop at a gas station for a map to navigate in unfamiliar territory. We need the map to drive efficiently and with less chance of an accident. If we get lost, we need only refer back to the map to find our way. Listening can be approached the same way.

Why we’re listening determines the type of information we listen for. Salespeople listen for customer concerns. Lawyers listen for their opponent’s faulty logic. Psychiatrists listen for unconscious motivations. Training has taught all of them not to listen at face value, and to use the time lag between their hearing and subsequent speaking to properly evaluate what is being said. At the same time, they don’t dismiss their emotional response to the speaker, their “feel” for the situation, or their hunch of what might happen next.

A framework telling them how to influence a person’s thinking from Point A to Point B also guides these professionals.

In sales, the marketing rep wants to influence a customer from a point of no interest to a commitment to buy. The lawyer tries to influence the jury to his or her point of view. The psychiatrist works to influence the patient toward new insights about personal behavior, motivations or a view of the world.

In business, executives need to focus on the interpersonal influencing process. Who is being influenced to move him from Point A to Point B and why? Where is this conversation going? To what ideas, beliefs and behaviors is this person most committed in his life? Which of these ideas, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors need to be influenced for the person to be more effective on the job?

What do I know about this individual that will help me better understand her and what is being said? Are her problems or concerns such that we can effect real changes, or are they out of reach in the business context?

The executive examines the way he or she answers the employee to see how these answers affect the listening process. Will the employee listen better if the answers are short and sweet, or will listening improve with more background information? What kind of information will be helpful? What kind of questions will open thinking and facilitate connections that lead to greater insights and wisdom along the way?

In practicing navigational listening, the executive listens carefully to the employee’s answers—to phrasing, context and words used to get clues to the real meanings behind their words. Navigational listening expands the ability for both the manager and the employee to emerge smarter, more connected and more conversationally intelligent by opening up new insights that go beyond the obvious—insights that reveal true wisdom.

See more at: http://blog.vistage.com/communication/say-good-listening-equals-good-communication/#sthash.tFuDQyfT.dpuf

 

Say That Again? Good Listening Equals Good Communication

listening

By Judith E. Glaser | vistage.com
Published: May 8, 2014

listeningFor a manager, listening is perhaps the most important component of communication. It’s essential to move ideas from one person to another. Done well, it will enable you to collect information for timely and effective decision-making.

The listening adult’s mind is never blank or completely impartial. Our listening is influenced by events, relationships and experiences—all adding to what we hear and its meaning. As objective as we would like to think we are when we listen, we actually are not.

We are also subject to the effects of our physical and emotional states. Being tired, angry, elated or stressful predisposes us to selective listening. These two forces—history plus emotional state—make up our listening capability at any point in the day.

Try to recall a recent situation when you were a listener. It may have been a speech delivered by an executive, a discussion with a subordinate or an explanation from a peer. Did you listen to facts or to specific words? Did you paraphrase these words in your mind? Did the situation lead to new impressions, feelings and ideas? Were you affected by how the speaker stood, the volume of her voice or her appearance? Did the speaker’s emotional tone bother you? Were you evaluating his effectiveness as a communicator? Or were you so preoccupied that you didn’t listen at all, or only hear a little of what was said?

Still another question: What guided your listening? Individuals who hear the same speech often walk away with different impressions of what they heard.

We hear one-seventh as fast as we think. While our mind has the time to listen, evidence suggests that we don’t always use that time well. Traditionally, ineffective listening has been viewed as a hearing problem. However, as we gain important new information about the effects of this uniquely human process called listening on the effectiveness of an organization, we recognize that ineffective listening is much more than just a hearing problem.

Consider some of these common types of listening behavior in business:

“Noise in the Attic” Listening. Like many people, some of us think that being a good listener is merely sitting silently while others talk. Outwardly, we appear to be listening. Inwardly, however, our mind is elsewhere or we are making judgments about earlier comments. We end up preoccupied with our own internalizations.

“Face Value” Listening. Sometimes, we think we are hearing facts when actually the words we’re hearing are our own interpretations of situations or figures. This explains why executives, managers and staff sometimes differ dramatically in what they think they hear.

Interpretations are influenced by our experiences. The more experiences we have, the more we should be able to interpret what we hear from the speaker’s perspective. Unfortunately, many adults hear only what they want to hear.

“Position” Listening. We interpret the messages we hear by our position in the organization or concerns as a member of the organization. Employees, for instance, are constantly alert for clues as to how their performance is being rated, reading their own interpretations into messages. A manager might listen to her president’s annual report to determine whether her division will be financed to grow further. What she hears in that talk could easily affect her performance during the year as well as her relationships with co-workers.

In business, executives need to focus on the interpersonal influencing process.

“Navigational Listening.” This is the style of listening that makes us better executives. It accepts that listening is not an end in itself but a part of a chain of processes that ends in a decision, strategy or change in behavior or viewpoint.

When driving to someplace new, we often stop at a gas station for a map to navigate in unfamiliar territory. We need the map to drive efficiently and with less chance of an accident. If we get lost, we need only refer back to the map to find our way. Listening can be approached the same way.

Why we’re listening determines the type of information we listen for. Salespeople listen for customer concerns. Lawyers listen for their opponent’s faulty logic. Psychiatrists listen for unconscious motivations. Training has taught all of them not to listen at face value, and to use the time lag between their hearing and subsequent speaking to properly evaluate what is being said. At the same time, they don’t dismiss their emotional response to the speaker, their “feel” for the situation, or their hunch of what might happen next.

A framework telling them how to influence a person’s thinking from Point A to Point B also guides these professionals.

In sales, the marketing rep wants to influence a customer from a point of no interest to a commitment to buy. The lawyer tries to influence the jury to his or her point of view. The psychiatrist works to influence the patient toward new insights about personal behavior, motivations or a view of the world.

In business, executives need to focus on the interpersonal influencing process. Who is being influenced to move him from Point A to Point B and why? Where is this conversation going? To what ideas, beliefs and behaviors is this person most committed in his life? Which of these ideas, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors need to be influenced for the person to be more effective on the job?

What do I know about this individual that will help me better understand her and what is being said? Are her problems or concerns such that we can effect real changes, or are they out of reach in the business context?

The executive examines the way he or she answers the employee to see how these answers affect the listening process. Will the employee listen better if the answers are short and sweet, or will listening improve with more background information? What kind of information will be helpful? What kind of questions will open thinking and facilitate connections that lead to greater insights and wisdom along the way?

In practicing navigational listening, the executive listens carefully to the employee’s answers—to phrasing, context and words used to get clues to the real meanings behind their words. Navigational listening expands the ability for both the manager and the employee to emerge smarter, more connected and more conversationally intelligent by opening up new insights that go beyond the obvious—insights that reveal true wisdom.

– See more at: http://blog.vistage.com/communication/say-good-listening-equals-good-communication/#sthash.uN4EGpgn.dpuf