Mindful Listening (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series): A book review by Bob Morris

“There is a huge difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.”  Simon Sinek

HBR Press offers a series of anthologies (thirteen volumes thus far) of articles in which contributors share proven research that explains how our emotions impact our work lives, practical advice for managing difficult people and situations, and inspiring essays on what it means to tend to our emotional well-being at work. Uplifting and practical, these books describe the social skills that are critical for ambitious professionals to master.

If you were to purchase reprints of the eleven articles in this volume separately, the total cost would be $98.45. Amazon now sells the volume for only $13.38.

According to the HBR editors of this volume, “Listening is a critical skill that leaders and managers often take for granted. By learning to listen mindfully, you can keep your employees more engaged, foster the discovery of new ideas, and hear what you need to hear in a discussion rather than what you expect to hear.

“This book will teach you what great listeners do, how to stay fully present in challenging conversations, and how empathic listening can help others learn and grow.”

* * *

In “What Great Listeners Actually Do,” Jack Zenger and Jospeph Folkman’s research revealed some surprising conclusions along with some qualities we expected to hear.” They grouped them into four main findings and discuss each at length:

o “Good listening is more, much more than being silent while another person talks.”
o “Good listening includes interactions that build a pertson’s self-esteem.”
o “Good listening is seen as a cooperative [and collaborative] conversation.”
o “Good listeners tend to make suggestions.”

I presume to add another:

o “Good listeners convince (with body language and tone of voice) that they appreciate what is being said to them.”

Here is a direct link to the complete HBR article.

* * *

In “What Gets in the Way of Listening,” Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins discuss four specific adjustments that will help improve listening skills and discuss each in detail.

1. Ignore your inner critic.
2. Expand how you see your role.
3. Put aside your fear and anticipation.
4. Be open to having your mind changed.

Here is a direct link to the HBR article.

* * *

In “Become a Better Listener,” while being interviewed by Sarah Jean Carichael, Mark Goulston shares an experience he once had that he will never forget…nor will you. Soon after his meeting with a CEO began, Goulston realized that “the last thing he wants to do is have a conversation with me. I asked him how much time was available?” Obviously his mind somewhere else, he said twenty minutes. Goulston knew he had only 30 seconds to resolve the tension and discomfort. To learn what happened next, I urge you to check out page 57. You’ll be very glad you did.

Here is a direct link to the complete interview.

* * *

Many people need to improve their emotional well-being, not only at work but in all other areas of life. To them and those who supervise them, I highly recommend the HBR Emotional Intelligence Series.

 

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