SOARing with CEEK: Session 3, Listening and Hearing


CEEK continues with our cohort of SOAR leaders. Based on the book, Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence: How Extraordinary Leaders Build Relationships, Shape Culture and Drive Breakthrough Results by Chalmers Brothers and Vinay Kumar, Jennifer Hughes is guiding 12 industry leaders on a journey of self-discovery. Our participants are using the power of language and conversations as primary tools to address concerns and achieve their desired results at work and in their personal lives.

Last week, our SOAR leaders focused on how to truly listen, not just hear what is being said and not said around us, and we dug deeper into our beliefs and the impact they have on how we observe the world and how that directly impacts our Results.

Listening ≠ Hearing

We can all be in the same meeting and hear the same words from our leaders. However, we often have very different interpretations of what was said. Why is this? How we listen is impacted by our mood, our experiences, our perspectives, our stories, our beliefs. And, we are wired this way. As human beings, we are wired to make meaning and we make meaning by listening through all of these lenses.

So, what influences how we see things? Certainly, our cultural and religious upbringings influence how we see things but there are other influences that are common to all of us. Whether we are aware of it or not, we walk around with background conversations running all the time. The key is to become more aware. Become more aware of when you are listening with this background conversation:

I’m Right.

We have all listened with this background conversation playing. It’s the one that makes us wait impatiently for the other person to stop talking simply so we can make our point and get them to agree with our side of the issue. It’s the one that makes politics so difficult to talk about because we all believe we are right. It’s also the one that drives people away and ends relationships. Often we are in the I’m Right background conversation because of insecurity or fear. When you listen with this background conversation playing, you are not actually taking in all that is being said. You are only choosing the pieces you want to choose so that you can prove yourself right and it is a damaging place to be.

Be a better observer of your listening habits. Be aware of the background conversations you have and how they impact your ability to truly listen. We are 100% responsible for how we listen. Listening is our starting point for moving forward in many situations.

Interested in learning more about SOAR and how we listen? The full list of sessions is available on our website and Jennifer will be sharing more about each session here on the blog. Follow this space to learn more and watch out for availability of our next cohort!