In the classic book on success, author Napoleon Hill shares the story of the birth of his son.
Hill wrote the following:
“I first saw him twenty-four years ago, a few minutes after he was born. He came into the world without any physical sign of ears. The doctor admitted, when pressed for an opinion, that the child might be deaf, and mute for life. I challenged the doctor’s opinion. I had the right to do so; I was the child’s father. I, too, reached a decision, and rendered an opinion; but I expressed the opinion silently, in the secrecy of my own heart. I decided that my son would hear and speak. Nature could send me a child without ears, but Nature could not induce me to accept the reality of the affliction.”
After filling his home with the expectation that his son would hear somehow, some way, Hill filled his house with song.
One day, seeing his son touch the record player while a song played, Hill discovered that his son could, indeed, hear. Through using his mastoid bone, his son had defied the odds predicted at birth – he could engage the sense of sound. Hill was elated at the realization that his son possessed this inherently important ability.
Having spent more than 20 years studying the success of people like Carnegie, Rockefeller, Edison and many more, Napoleon Hill knew quite well the importance of hearing – and, more importantly, listening.
He learned that, to become a good listener, you must want to hear.
Great leaders are also great listeners. We think of them as great speakers, but closer observation reveals they often listen substantially more than they speak. And they listen intently, learning, and discerning.
Not-so-great leaders are often “hard of listening.”
How Can You Become a Great Listener?
First, you must want to hear, just like Napoleon Hill wanted his son to hear.
But wanting is not enough. You must also take action to set the stage for hearing.
This Week – Practice Active Listening
As you go about your week, stop, and ask yourself these questions several times a day. You may not be born a great listener; but, with enough “want to” and practice, you can become one.
- Did you check your ego before listening, to see the value in learning someone else’s opinion, not just your own?
- Did you look at the person speaking?
- Did you overcome the urge to interrupt?
- Did you suspend your judgment of what is being shared and listen without bias?
- Did you ask clarifying questions?
- Were you able to sum up the conversation at intervals to show you were truly engaged in the conversation?
For more resources on DISC assessments and how they can help you develop as a leader, click here.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.