The Power Of Listening

One of the greatest impacts a leader can make is to be fully present in any conversation. The ability to leave another person feeling that they have been fully listened to is remarkable. However, this happens so rarely in our workplace because of the competing demands on our time. All of us have deal with common listening blocks that get in the way of being fully present. Twelve of the most common blocks are listed below with some reflection questions on how they might get the way of you truly listening to another person.

Listening Blocks

1. Pre-Judging

Before the conversation begins, you have already negatively judged the person in some way, and this filters everything you hear from them.

2. Mind Reading

The tendency to assume you already know what the person is thinking and feeling and thus blocking out any information that you might not agree with.

3. Filtering

Selective listening to the things that you are really concerned about or about what you want to hear.

4. Rehearsing

Thinking about what you are going to say next. You may put on the impression that you are listening but in reality, you are focusing on the response you will give.

5. Jumping To Conclusions

Jumping quickly to a conclusion without hearing all the details and thus the danger of missing some important information.

6. Day Dreaming

Drifting of into other thoughts what arise during the conversation. Sometimes you are bored by a conversation and think about more entertaining things.

7. Shifting Topics

Avoiding a difficult topic that you do not want to discuss but shifting the topic. This prevents you from having to deal with difficult emotions and can keep people at a distance.

8. Pleasing

Appeasing or placating another person to avoid a conflict even if you inwardly disagree with them.

9. Sparring

Feeling the need to always debate or argue about different points in the conversation. You need to be careful as the other person may not enjoy debate and argument and may shut down failing to fully express what they wanted to say.

10. Having To Win

Holding great importance in having to be right and normally shows up as having to have the last word.

11. Advising

Going into help mode and giving advice about the situation without ever asking if the other person is truly looking for advice or just wants to be listened to.

12. Identifying

Constantly thinking about a similar experience that you have had and sometimes jumping in and cutting off the other person to share it.

Refection Questions

Which of the 12 blocks mentioned above do you use the most?


Do you notice a difference in the blocks you use at work, home and in social situations?


Choose one listening block to work on. What are some ways you might reduce this listening block

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest