Listening Skills for Improved Work Relationships

If you’ve worked with one of our coaches, you’ve heard of "the 94%". One of Tim’s most tried and true models, he created it after reading a magazine article where a psychologist stated that 94% of the time people view events through how it impacts them personally. (The article was a long time ago – we can’t find it for attribution. Free cup of coffee to anyone who can find it for us!) Tim’s interactive model of behavior, when followed, helps two individuals through a process where each can be heard and, in turn, listen to another’s 94%.

Why did this idea strike a chord inside of Tim? Because he intuitively understood that individuals in the workplace are often at odds over some goal, process or "territory" because they are personally invested in their view, or opinion, being right and have stopped listening and being open to new or competing ideas. (After all – who holds onto personal views when they themselves believe them to be wrong?)

Per Chris Argyris:  "There seems to be a universal human tendency to design one’s actions according to four basic values: 1) To remain in unilateral control; 2) To maximizing "winning" and minimize "losing"; 3) To suppress negative feelings; and 4) To be as "rational" as possible"1. Or, as John Kenneth Galbraith said: "Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy working on the proof".

With this naturally occurring intransigence, how in the world do people come to consensus about anything at work? With no consensus there can be no innovation or new course plotted. Simply put, no consensus results in the status quo being supported and maintained – again! Enter Tim with the ability to teach individuals how to break down the fortified bunkers of the adult mind through listening and constructive dialog. Are you or your organization stuck? Are you unable to reach consensus in order to create a plan of action to make things better? Learn how to quiet oneself in order to engage others through listening. Learn how to practice being open and how to help others do the same. Learn how to apply "the 94%".

1)   Argyris, Chris. Teaching Smart People How to Learn (Harvard Business Review Classics) Harvard Business School Press (May 19, 2008)

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