The Top 10 Super Powers of Listening

There are a million excuses for poor listening. Reject all of them if you expect to lead.

The top 10 super powers of listening:

  1. Expanding horizons.
  2. Showing respect.
  3. Connecting and caring.
  4. Helping people feel understood.
  5. Answering the right question.
  6. Helping.
  7. Building trust.
  8. Helping people feel they matter.
  9. Exercising influence.
  10. Creating the future.

Listening increases the value and impact of your words.

Otto Scharmer’s 4 types of listening.

Type 1: Downloading – habit

“Yeah,I know that already.” I call this type of listening “downloading”—listening by reconfirming habitual judgments.

Nothing new penetrates our bubble.

Type 2: Factual – from outside

“Ooh, look at that!” This type of listening is factual or object-focused: listening by paying attention to facts and to novel or disconfirming data.

Switch off your inner voice of judgment and listen to the voices right in front of you. Focus on what differs from what you know. Ask questions, and pay careful attention to responses.

Listening type 3: Empathetic – from within

“Oh, yes, I know exactly how you feel.” Move from staring at the objective world (the “it-world”) to listening to the story of a living and evolving self (the “you-world”).

Only an open heart gives us the empathic capacity to connect directly with another person … we forget about our own agenda and begin to see how the world appears through someone else’s eyes.

Listening type 4: Generative – from the field

 Listening while holding space for something new to be born. Listen for the highest future possibility to show up.

This level of listening requires us to access not only our open heart, but also our open will – our capacity to connect to the highest future.

Successful leaders observe their quality of listening and adapt to the situation.

(Adapted from The Essentials of Theory U.)

What powers of listening might you add to the list?

What happens inside a person when someone deeply listens to them?

Join me next Friday (3/23/2018) at 9:05 a.m. EDT for a Facebook Live conversation with Otto Scharmer.