“Listening is difficult because it involves suppressing your ego long enough to consider what is being said before you respond.”

Stop. Think about that.

To be an effective S1 Servant Leader, we must begin with the premise, “It’s not about me.” That’s as true in conversations as it is anywhere else.

In fact, even if the other person is talking about me, the reality is that he or she is usually not talking about me. He or she is talking about his or her own perceptions and feelings. A good listener starts from that premise, so there’s no reason to be defensive no matter what is said.

It’s hard to maintain a “it’s not about me” perspective on conversations – especially when they are heated. But it’s also true that people are hungry to be listened to even when they are doing all they can to change a conversation into an argument.

“The sense that we are not being listened to is one of the most frustrating feelings imaginable. Toddlers scream about it, teenagers move out, couples split up, companies break down,” says a valuable tutorial on active listening.

If you would like to be a better listener – which could mean you want to be a better friend, a better spouse, a better parent or a better leader -- we heartily recommend that you read the tutorial, which will take only about 11 minutes of your time.

Then consider going back to it and re-reading it again and again until you master the art and service of active listening.

You’ll be glad you did. And so will your family members, friends and co-workers. Happy learning!

How to make lives better as an active listener


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