Hearing is not necessarily listening—sometimes we can be heard without uttering a word. Listening is not about ear function; it’s noticing, tuning in, and responding to others.
While not much time is spent teaching how to listen in traditional educational settings, so much of what we need to feel valued and supported in our personal and professional relationships has to do with how well we empathetically and effectively listen to others. This trainable skill is called “active listening”- a structured approach to listening and asking questions in conversation. When our team leaders are good at it—it can really increase our emotional health, organizational loyalty, and dedication to our work.
Leaders often say they have a lot of concern for the feelings and needs of those that work for them—but then can’t hold a simple conversation without checking their email or phone in the midst of it. Turning off those distractions, along with our judgements and selective listening, demonstrates to others that we are interested and engaged with them.