One of the greatest benefits of mindfulness is the increased ability to listen–not only to ourselves, but to others. To illustrate this, I’m sure we can all think of countless times when someone asked us how we were doing, without stopping long enough to actually hear the answer.
It’s pretty clear that, in the office, better listening would result in judging less and understanding more. Our goals would be more realistic and achievable, and we would be more willing and able to support each other in order to reach them. We would work better as a team simply because we would be able to tune in to each other’s strengths and recognize how real life intersects with real work. Hal Gregerson, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, says that “if we ever finish a conversation and learned nothing surprising, then we weren’t really listening.”
So how do you listen well? You can read more of Gregerson’s (and others’) thoughts on that here, and you can also begin by asking better questions. Here are a few to get you started:
Five Questions That Facilitate Active Listening:
- What is one recent challenge that has made achieving your goals more difficult?
- What is working well for our team/organization?
- What is one thing I can do for you that would help you overcome a workplace challenge?
- What is holding us back? What is helping us move forward?
- What has inspired you this week?
This week, as you interact with your coworkers or lead your teams, consider carving out space to truly listen to the people around you. And instead of reacting immediately, give yourself time to pause, to think, and to reflect, and you’ll undoubtedly feel more at peace and more focused.
Finding peace within every environment must be consistent and intentional, so while you may not ask all 5 questions this week, consider starting with just one. If you do, I’d love to hear how it went. Just reach out to me at email@example.com or stop by our Facebook page and share a bit of your story.
Take good care : )