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How to Listen So You Can Lead Others Effectively

I believe that those leaders who do not to listen to their people, will eventually be surrounded by no one who speaks. 

Learning how to listen is a vital step in becoming an effective leader. According to research conducted by Personality Insights, the average executive spends two hours talking each day but eight hours listening.

Here is an example. 

After spending two hours at home with my eight year old son, I estimate that the average stay-at-home parent  spends 12 to 16 hours a day listening!!!

Well... at least one of the five levels of listening (more about this to come). 

Whether we realize it or not, whether we are intentionally engaged or not, we are always listening. Sometimes we are listening to new ideas, listening to a story, to music, to the background noise of a television, or in a true conversation where we are sharing our thoughts and conveying important information. I don’t know about you, but after a day of listening and communicating at any level, especially on ZOOM, my brain is exhausted. 

Through my six plus years of human behavior training and 44 years of life, I have learned that there are six hidden components to every communication. 

  1. What you think you said.
  2. What you actually said.
  3. What the other person heard.
  4. What you think the other person heard.
  5. What the other person thinks about what you said.
  6. What you think the other person thinks about what you said.

No wonder I am tired!

These six components have provided me with a deeper understanding of one of my favorite communication quotes by George Bernard Shaw. He declared, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has actually occurred.”

Be sure to write that down. In case you missed it the first time, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has actually occurred.” 

Based on that quote, I now know that the cause to my failed leadership and relationship building was a direct result of my poor listening habits.

Loss of time. 

Loss of credibility. 

Loss of information.

Loss of respect. 

Loss of opportunity. 

Loss of relationships.

Loss of love. 

Loss of understanding. 

Most recently, I was coaching a principal and they noted that no one responds to their emails when they are looking for feedback. 

This is the result of NOT LISTENING. 

All of these losses impacted my path to success and significance. 

They are impacting you too. 

Through years of training and awareness, I have improved my listening.  It is not where I desire it to be, but it gets better each week. Especially when I know the PAIN it is causing those around me. 

Here is where my learning started, the five levels of listening.  

5 Levels of Listening: For All Types of People

Dr. Robert Rohm, Personality Insights

Level 1: Non-Listening: This is when a person deliberately chooses not to listen or hear any noise or conversation not related to them. Examples might be conversations of which you are not a part of while sitting in a Starbucks. 

Level 2: Passive Listening: This is when you are a semi-part of a conversation that you are not too interested in. Examples are: chit chat at a party or during a small group gathering. 

Level 3: Limited Listening: Listening as best as you can to a monologue conversation with an occasional conversation. Examples might be sitting in a lecture or staff meeting. 

Level 4: Selective Listening: This is bottom line information and being part of a communication between two or more people. The big idea is remembered, while the details are secondary. An example might be sitting with a salesperson or vendor. 

Level 5: True Listening: Highest, most involved level of listening. This level demonstrates the highest form of respect. There is a clear understanding, and a call to action. As Stephen Covey shared, you are listening to understand, not to reply. An example might be talking with a mentor of your choosing, a loved one or partner in life.

By truly listening to the audio in the lesson (fill out the form below), you will learn about the different attitudes and obstacles that impact listening. Most importantly, if you choose to truly listen, I guarantee that you will learn strategies to improve your listening skills. 

Learning to listen has been the key to my success as a thinking partner, human behavior consultant, and executive coach. Most importantly my improved relationship with my wife. I have been working to understand people and meet their needs.

I wish I knew this 25 years ago. I would have saved lots of time and had fewer relationships to repair. I hope that some of these insights from the blog and video will help you begin your transformational journey! 

Fill out the FORM below to LISTEN to the 5 LEVELS OF LISTENING LESSON.

To your sustained success and happiness,



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