Sunday, June 10, 2012
The Art of Listening
Recently I read a piece by Tom Peters about the essential skill of listening.
As a manager in the public sector for many years you have to develop the skills of listening. Listening to the politicians and listening to the constituents. Coupled with that is a professional understanding of the situation which involves listening to the researchers, consultants, your peers and the staff (all in no particular order).
While listening is important it is also the synthesis of that information into a workable solution or at least a point of view.Once that has been determined a sound decision based on the information is required. In some situations much of this can be done very quickly and so called instant decisions can be made and in other situations a longer period is required to get to a suitable solution where a decision can be made.
Tom Peters (2009) suggests that Listening belongs on the short list of "strategic competencies," people need to Study listening! (Study = Become a serious student thereof!), Treat listening as a "practice"! The Big Idea here is that (1) this is a strategic strengths (or weaknesses), (2) this is a disciplines that can be mastered and (3) these are disciplines that must be mastered to be effective.