Not All Introverts are Great Listeners All the Time

Introverts are often stereotyped as quiet, reserved individuals who are excellent listeners. While this may be true for some introverts some of the time, not all introverts are great listeners.

I am indeed an introvert and can come across as a good listener, as I may not say a lot or be economical with my words when I do. But I have had to work on improving my listening, because while I may look like I’m listening, I may:

  • be thinking about what to say next
  • be finding solutions to the problems that others are sharing
  • be worried about how I’m going to say what I’m about to say
  • be anxious about what others might think of me or if I said something they disagree with
  • be lost in my own thoughts about whatever is being discussed or something else entirely!
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The long-lasting and wide-ranging impact of racism and microaggressions

Have you ever stopped to think about the long-lasting impact of racist comments and microaggressions? I recently had a coaching client who opened my eyes to the lasting impact of these types of incidents.

I hesitated to share this but when my coaching client gave me permission, I felt it was important to share. She hoped that it would help others to feel that they are not alone.

She shared with me three incidents that occurred 10 years ago, and still had a huge impact on her self-perception and confidence. Two of the incidents were a direct attack on her, criticising her English language accent or skills by a client and a colleague. Another was where she heard culturally diverse members of the team being told to “go back where they came from”.

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When the pursuit of efficiency becomes inefficient

With the pressure to perform, do more with less and get things done quickly, efficiency and productivity have become very much a goal for many people and organisations. Have you noticed, though, that in the pursuit of efficiency and productivity, we end up rushing everything and don’t do anything very well?

I felt this effect towards the end of last year, with so many things to get done ‘before Christmas’. Unfortunately, as much as I tried to be efficient and get through my tasks, I noticed that there were some things that simply could not be rushed in the pursuit of efficiency.

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Benefits of Poor Listening

In a recent “Listening Masterclass” with senior leaders, we asked: “What are the benefits of poor listening?”

You may be thinking “What? There are no benefits, are there?” Perhaps the leaders thought the same.

The logic driving this question is that most people agree that we experience poor listening in the workplace often. If there were no benefits to poor listening, this wouldn’t be the case and we wouldn’t do it, would we? So there must be some perceived benefits.

As the group explored this question, a number of different answers came up.

Take a look at these benefits and see if there are reasons why you might not listen as well as you could.

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Why our brain freezes when put on the spot

Have you been asked a question in front of a group and gone blank? You know your stuff and it’s not like you don’t have the answer, you just can’t think of it right there.

Or… someone challenges your idea and you can’t think of a way to respond. Even though you can see holes in their argument, you just can’t think of the right thing to say in the moment.

Or… you are in a conversation and have something to say, but when your opportunity to speak comes around you go blank.

Or… you are invited to ask a question to a speaker, you have a question but you feel too anxious to ask, freeze and end up not asking the question.

So often in these instances, you think of things you could have said later and say to yourself “why didn’t I say that at the time?!”

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“Bulldozer”​ no more

For those of you in Australia, what a weekend with the federal election! Some of you may be very disappointed and others of you may be elated. Putting aside policies and politics, what I am absolutely thrilled about is the removal of the “bulldozer” approach to leadership.

Our former Prime Minister acknowledged that he has been a bulldozer and he was willing to change. But in the same sentence, he said that he had to be like that, to be “strong” through the pandemic and uncertainty. It just highlighted how stuck we are in the belief that strong leadership = dominance and that uncertain times require this style.

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Calm in the chaos

In times of uncertainty like we are experiencing now, worry, panic and chaos can set in. These are the times when tapping into our quiet power will help us find calm in the chaos. By accessing our inner calm, we can respond creatively rather than react. Find opportunity in what seems like a crisis.

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5 reasons why we need leadership without authority

The Golden Key RMIT chapter (a collegiate honour society that invites the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students) asked me to explore “leading without authority” with their students and a panel of experienced leaders: Dr Wendy Harding, CEO of the National Institute of Organisational Dynamics Australia; Professor Ron Wakefield, Dean, School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University; and Gary Novak, Partner at KPMG. It’s an important concept if you are new to an organisation or do not have positional authority – that is, authority by virtue of your job title or where you are in the hierarchy.

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