BLOCKING THE WAY

Most people would see some of the skills and behaviors associated with active listening—not interrupting, for example—as basic courtesy. But other active listening skills (such as asking clarifying questions) are less familiar and therefore may require teaching and practice. Leaders who seek to improve their ability to actively listen may face a number of barriers, including these:

The image of leadership. The role of listening can seem to contradict common cultural notions of what a leader is. In a society that values leaders who are action oriented, charismatic, visionary, and directive, the expectation is that leaders should have all the answers, call all the shots, and do all the talking. The emphasis on the performance of ...

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