11 Bad Listening Habits Leaders must Avoid

Listening is one of the most important competencies a leader can use. Leaders who listen well, lead well.

But sometimes even good leaders slip into bad listening habits. As you read these bad habits below, mentally check which one(s) you most easily slip into.

Lisa J. Downs, author, listening expert, and former president of the American Society for Training and Development believes this list captures our worst listening habits.

  1. Daydreaming: thinking about unrelated topics when someone else is speaking.
  2. Debating: carrying on an inner argument about what is being said.
  3. Judging: letting negative views influence us.
  4. Problem solving: yearning to give unasked for advice.
  5. Pseudo-listening: pretending to be a good listener.
  6. Rehearsing: planning what you want to say next.
  7. Stage hogging: redirecting the conversation to suit your own goals.
  8. Ambushing: gathering information to use against the other person.
  9. Selective listening: only responding to the parts of the conversation that interest us.
  10. Defensive listening: taking everything personally.
  11. Avoidant listening: blocking out what you don’t want to hear

How many of these bad listening habits have you inadvertently slipped into?

If you mentally checked one or more, consider these tips.

  1. Ask a close friend to give you feedback on how well you listen.
  2. As you listen to someone, monitor your thoughts to catch yourself before you slip into one of these habits. The term for monitoring your thoughts is called metacognition, thinking about your thinking.
  3. Simply talk less. The acronym WAIT has helped me listen better and talk less. It stands for Why Am I Talking?
  4. Read the book Words can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman. It’s an insightful book on communication from which this list came.

What other bad listening habits have you experienced from yourself or from others?

Related posts:

5 thoughts on “11 Bad Listening Habits Leaders must Avoid”

  1. WAIT, You want me to WAIT? first, i didn’t get most of the blog because i was thinking of going fishing, and then when i started to pay attention, I noticed that you were attacking me. Don’t you think I know how to listen, and i have been to seminary so I could tell you a thing or two, besides, i don’t need some other pastor to tell me how to listen. come on now. ! 🙂 LOL
    i can’t continue what a great blog Charles, and i found you picked on some of my favorite sins in this area. i love the acronym WAIT. i will share that and this blog with others. thanks for another great read. Charles

  2. Excellent! What a great reminder as well as tools that we can “try” to put into use right away. Even though it is tough this is so helpful! Appreciate so much all your blogs. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Leadership Roundup | Worship Links

  4. Pingback: The Top 10 Leadership Posts I Read The Week Of August 5th | Brian Dodd on Leadership

  5. Pingback: Saturday Suggestions/Week in Review | ChuckLawless.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top