“Hear the other side.”
~St. Augustine

The other day we were leading a program on Change Management and one of the participants described listening, and the errors that occur in listening, brilliantly. “I’m either thinking through what I’m going to say in response,” he shared, “or I’m knowing what you mean by what you’re saying…and I’m usually wrong.”

How unfortunately true this is. When we “listen” to someone, especially in the midst of a heated discussion or a vital conversation, we are often more tuned to ourselves and what we need to get across to the other person than we are to the other person and what they’re trying to share with us. We listen to hear what we want to hear, or expect to hear. We listen to hear their point of view so that we can list our objections. Or convince them of our viewpoint.

How different it might be if we listened truly to hear what they had to say. To learn their perspective and their “side.” How different, and more effective, it might be if we approached the conversation and person with curiosity – realizing how much we may not know and being open to learning and shifting our outlook. Chances are that we would learn new things and change our minds more often. Chances also are that our relationships would be smoother and our work might be easier to accomplish. We might be more effective – getting more done for ourselves and our organizations, because the energy we’d been using in debating or responding might now be channeled to more quickly agreeing and then moving tasks forward.

There’s always something to be gained by hearing the other side, even if it’s just an increased understanding of the other side (and other people). It can be so tough to do, and so valuable when we do it.

So listen. And hear the other side.

How do you effectively hear the other side?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in hearing their side, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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