Use Your Ears More
“To be an effective leader you have to be a really good listener, and not to what’s said but to what’s not being said.”- Kobe Bryant
“Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.”—Richard Branson
Two overlapping pieces of advice from two extraordinary leaders, one on the court, and one in business.
For many people the most important use of ears is to keep eyeglasses in place or hold earrings. Big Mistake. They forget that the most important function of ears is as a tool for learning.
If you aren’t listening, you’re missing out. Missing out on hearing about opportunities you don’t know about, disasters approaching, or even something as simple as the great deal that wonderful new restaurant is offering this week.
As Branson says, to learn, listen don’t speak. After all, your mind already knows everything you’re going to say. Open it up to something new that adds to your knowledge, something that may even help you solve a vexing problem.
And as Bryant suggests, to truly hear and understand the really important things, you have to listen for the holes in what someone tells you. The places where the pieces don’t fit, where there are gaps needing to be filled, what they avoid talking about.
Improve your ability to keep your mouth shut. To intensely listen and really hear what’s being said to you…and what’s not being said.
And don’t forget what Smolinsky says on this issue.
“The most important listening of all takes place when you go off by yourself into total quiet and turn your attention inward to clearly hear and understand the story going on in your head that creates who you are and guides all you do.”