Are YOUR Ears Open? Listening is critical to successful communication, leadership and happiness

Are YOUR ears  OPEN?
Listening is critical to successful communication, leadership and happiness

Helping smart people & organizations communicate & lead forward smarter, faster,  happier is what I do best
© Irene Becker | | 3Q Leadership™ Blog


True listening is not the manifestation of judgment, comparison, criticism or complaint.  It is one of the greatest sources of validation we can give to another person, and it is our most powerful source of self reflection, growth, learning & leadership.

While we all want to think that we are listening, sometimes we are too busy, to distracted to really listen; or we have put on the ugly tight black hat of judgment before the first syllable is out of the speaker’s mouth. Are YOU hearing what you expect or presume will be said or really listening?  The greatest misunderstandings, the most terrible emotional pain resides in the dimension of conversations that were heard but not listened to, in the spaces between the words that were presumed to be heard or understood.

Hearing is a given for most of us, but true listening is not.  It requires the time and the patience to pause, remove judgment, remove comparison and just reflect on what the other person is saying.  When we are able to open our ears, our mind and our heart, we are able to listen and in so doing we are giving and receiving the gift of connection.

Listening is a learned skill, a critical leadership, management and life skill.  It is the gift of connection. When we listen to another, we stretch our muscles of communication and connection, we also regain the ability, the power to respond rather than react, lead forward rather than getting stuck in what was or what could be. We were born with the ability to reach past, filters, presumptions and truly listen. No matter how seemingly important or unimportant the conversation is, we can always try to connect with another person at a fundamental level of personal validation, respect and communication.

More on Communication?  See 7 Ways to Turn Conflict Around

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9 replies
  1. Susan Bagyura
    Susan Bagyura says:

    Hi Irene,

    I really like this post! Far too often people think because they hear something being said that they are listening; however, in order to really listen everything else must be put aside. There’s such a clear difference speaking with someone that is fully present and truly listening because even their facial expressions change and their eyes are intent.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you.


    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Susan: Thank you so much for your comments and reflections on my post and on the topic, the importance of active listening.

      You touched upon an important point for the receiver of information…when we are talking to someone who is not fully present it is often an impediment. Learning to deal with this impediment is of course the “coachable moment”:)

      Thanks so much for your comments. I look forward to writing more on the subject of communication very much.

      Best! Irene

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Thank you so much for your comments. Yes, listening or learning to be an active listener is SO critical. Would love to read what you have read on the subject.

      Wishing you great continued success,

    CASUDI says:

    We are so busy these days, thinking of the next thing(s) on our list that we hear what we expect or presume will be said Glad you pointed this out.My business partner of many years catches me at this from time to time. Then I know I am on overload and step back, and make sure I am hearing what people are saying, really understanding everything. Lucky for me that I have this “warning signal” in the form my partner 🙂

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Casudi: Thanks so much for your comments, and sharing your experience with hearing as opposed to listening. It is so great that you could naturally pick up on your partner’s cues and become a more active, a better listener. This is terrific! Learning to listen is a skills that each one of us has to cultivate, and many of us do not even realize that we are not listening actively, but rather hearing through filters, or presumptions about what the other party means that cause us to react rather than respond.

      Wishing you a terrific weekend!

  3. James Strock
    James Strock says:

    If there is one thing that can change all of our lives it’s learning when to listen. Nearly all of us can look back and wince at times we made mistakes simply by not listening–really listening.

    Thanks for this fine guidepost!

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Jim: Thanks so much for your comment, and sage reflections. You are so right; really listening, active listening is not only a learned skill, but one of the most critical skills we have. The leader who communicates well, succeeds well, and great communication starts with listening.

      I am so delighted that you enjoyed the post.



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