Imagine having a conversation with someone. It could be a friend, family member or work colleague. You may be telling them about a personal problem or a departmental issue within the office.During this conversation, the friend or colleague is looking at you and nodding in agreement and so, you naturally think they are listening intently. In reality, what is most likely happening is that they are actually preoccupied with other concerns. They, like many of us, have a lot to do and think about. They want to be there for you but are thinking about other things rather than focusing on what you are saying.
This is a form of intellectual deafness. Your friend or colleague will hear what you are saying, nod in agreement and tell you what you want to hear. We are all guilty of this and it is because we don’t want to upset anyone. It is easier to be agreeable rather than being honest. It is difficult to stop hearing from the mind and begin listening from the heart.
Intellectual deafness does a disservice to both parties. That is because the person sharing their story is not given honest feedback. The listener is incapable of doing this because when they listen to you, their own thoughts, ideas and opinions cloud what you are saying. What was spoken by you and what the other person hears may be entirely different.
Listening from the heart allows a person to make a deeper connection with others. I have seen the changes that can happen when one stops listening intellectually. In the past, I have worked with highly intelligent people. However, these same people don’t speak from their heart.
Instead, they often tell me or their managers what they think we want to hear. While feelings may be spared by doing this, it creates additional problems because issues remain buried and unresolved. Now, I am working with people who speak from the heart and use their intuition. My cabin has become a solution center beyond what it used to be, which was a complexity junction.
Leaders need to make sure that employees feel safe and comfortable enough to be perfectly honest even if it means bringing out some of the uglier parts of the company. If the ugliness remains buried and does not come to the surface, it will fester like a wound and kill the entire organization.