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Silence and Active Listening: Transforming My Leadership Journey


Embracing Silence for Effective Leadership and Communication


Embracing silence during conversations is a challenge I'm facing head-on in my leadership journey. 🙋‍♀️ Admitting that silence feels awkward was my first step toward embracing it as a crucial aspect of communication. Alwaya utilizing motivational interviewing (MI) in my interactions is a significant part of my development, enhancing how I connect and engage with others on a deeper level. Despite this, I confront an unintended habit that often creeps into my dialogues: talking over people when I'm caught up in the moment or when my eagerness to respond overshadows my intent to listen.


Listening to Respond vs. Listening to Understand

Reflecting on my interactions, I recognize a pattern where my anticipation to contribute sometimes leads me to interrupt others. This realization is a pivotal moment, prompting me to shift from listening merely to respond to listening with the intent to understand. It's about moving beyond just hearing words to truly grasping the meaning behind them, fostering an environment where every voice is heard and valued.


The Strategic Pause: Embracing Silence in Conversations

Embracing silence has become a transformative strategy in my communication toolkit. Silence, I learn, is not merely the absence of speech; it's a space rich with potential for insight and deeper connection. Allowing moments of silence in conversations gives me and the people I'm engaging with the time to reflect and digest the discussion's content. It's in these pauses that understanding deepens, and responses become more thoughtful and intentional.



The Role of Motivational Interviewing in My Evolution

My use of motivational interviewing is instrumental in reshaping my communication style. The principles of MI, especially reflective listening and summarizing, help me curb the impulse to talk over others. These techniques foster a more inclusive dialogue, encouraging a flow of conversation where insights can be shared and explored freely, enhancing empathy and mutual understanding.


Active Steps Towards Better Listening

Addressing my tendency to interrupt and embracing the full value of silence require conscious effort and practical strategies:


1. Mindful Listening: I commit to fully focus on the speaker, setting aside my immediate reactions or thoughts to provide them with my undivided attention. Thinking is not listening!


2. Reflective Practice: I regularly pause to reflect on what's being said before jumping in with my response, ensuring my replies are grounded in a genuine understanding of the discussion. Oh boy! Perfect practice makes progress 🙏


3. Encouraging Openness: I actively encourage others to share their thoughts and feelings, reinforcing that their perspectives are important and valued. Intentional listening 👂



A Journey of Continuous Growth

This journey towards mastering silence and improving my active listening skills is pivotal in my personal and professional development. It teaches me the importance of truly being present in my interactions and the value of every individual's voice in conversations. By embracing these principles, I aim to continually foster a leadership style that is inclusive, empathetic, and effective.


Sharing this part of my journey is an invitation to others to explore the dynamics of their communication habits and to consider the profound impact of active listening and embracing silence in enhancing leadership and personal connections.

 

To all my amazing friends who connect with the world through pressured speech, who aren't afraid to be direct, ask the deep questions, and whose thoughts roam far and wide like a globe – I'm talking to you! Embrace the journey we're on, the pivotal "know your audience" moment. I see you, I really do. You're not on this path by yourself. 👋💯 Here's to embracing our perfectly imperfect selves, just as we are.


-Shannon

Forward Focus Consulting: Empower, Transform, Achieve




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