Listening Builds Trust

Whoever answers before listening is both foolish and shameful. –Solomon, Proverbs 18

Have you ever been in a group when someone has something important to share, but the leader cuts her off and moves on? It could be business where a great idea for moving the company forward was just lost. Or maybe a small group of friends where someone was hurting or puzzled and now will not get solace or an answer.

Sometimes you are in a situation where the speaker is so full of himself or herself that listening is not required. Probably happens way too often.

But perhaps you are in a situation where you ask for help from someone who has been there before and has developed wisdom. And you don’t listen. You actually want to tell them.

“I will rarely invest [time or money] in or with someone who doesn’t listen.” Henry Cloud

Listening is not an “ear” thing; listening is a “heart” thing.

Your ears pick up sounds. Your brain translates the sounds. But your heart ponders and digest and relates. Listening with only your brain only generates responses with what is on your mind. Listening with the heart is relationship. It shows caring, trust, empathy.

So many people seem to hear only for words they can agree or disagree with. Then they pounce like a cat on a mouse.

Listening with the heart takes time. Therefore it builds a relationship with the other.

I work mornings in a coffee shop. If I’m home, it’s High Grounds. If I’m on the road, it’s a local shop if I can find one or it’s a chain. I don’t make coffee, I read and write. I observe–always an observer. Friends come to have a coffee and a conversation. You can tell the extent of the relationship by the energy and body language.

Some appear somewhat distant. Others make eye contact. The lean slightly forward. They affirm they are listening. You can tell. I’m sure the other person can tell (unless they are so narcissistic that they don’t need reassurance, but that’s another post).

On the foundation of such heart listening are trusting relationships built. As Henry Cloud described in The Power of the Other, the qualities that lead to great performance are enhanced by great relationships. You help each other on many levels just by beginning with listening with the heart.

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