In many conversations, people tend to focus on their turn. On what they could say next.
As opposed to listening to what the others have to say.
These people just wait for an opportunity to jump in and take over the talking part. Usually speaking about themselves.
In these conversations, it can feel like being in a bad band consisting only of soloists – soloists who, rather than playing together, just happen to play at the same time. Everyone’s concerned with their own solo instead of complementing each other to create a collective masterpiece.
Good conversations are collective masterpieces that lead somewhere – a place we couldn’t reach on our own.
They can only happen when we are willing to truly listen – just like the masterpieces of a great band. World class guitarist Pat Metheny once said that “the best musicians are not the best players, they’re the best listeners.”
Truly listening means more than merely waiting for your turn. It means showing up with interest, empathy, and compassion: Are you willing to look from their perspective, ask questions that dig deeper, and learn something new?
When you’re constantly busy thinking about what you’re going to say next, you won’t have time for any of that.
The art of listening is the foundation upon which the art of communicating is built.
Leaders who light the path are great listeners in that sense. For them, it’s not about who says what. They don’t care for when it’s their turn. Because it’s always the team’s turn.
For them, it’s about unlocking the brilliance of everyone on the team.