How often do you catch yourself and tell yourself, “Let me just shut up and listen for awhile”?
If your answer was something like “never” or “almost never” maybe you should stop and think about that. Especially in family business.
Learning to actually shut up and listen takes practice. Learning to listen to others is a critical step in building stronger relationships and a stronger family business team.
The fact of whether what the other person has to say is brilliant, legitimate or helpful isn’t the point. The point is when you listen to someone you are giving a gift of compassion or respect as a human being.
I like to take the perspective that each human being has their own unique and legitimate (to them) perspective. The more I can generously listen to them, I believe I will be modeling the behavior I want back.
Too often we all get caught in the trap of wanting to express our views before actually hearing the other person’s view. We get impatient, frustrated and sometimes aggressive toward “getting a word in” the conversation.
When you can build the skill of listening, you help create calmer minds and calmer conversations. When we have a calmer mind you also have a more creative mind, and the ability to solve problems.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great, successful business teams over the past 30 years and am still amazed how hard it can be for people to just be quiet and listen. Make listening a muscle you practice on a frequent basis.
Remember, when you go to hear a great orchestra the first thing you might see the musicians do is warm up with a few simple exercises. Business professionals should make “let’s all practice being good listeners” one of their quick warm ups before every meeting.
“Learn to shut up and really listen” is #1 of my 10 practices that are a part of my Conversations for Success Formula. You can download the entire formula here.