Ok, I’ve lured you in.
So what’ the #1 thing that can be done at work to get ahead you ask?
Is it focus on one thing at a time and don’t multi-task?
Important, yes. But no.
Is it to not allow yourself to peruse Facebook at your desk?
Is it to check email 3-4 times per day instead of 37?
Don’t get me started on this, but that’s not it.
Listen. That’s the thing. Listen first, speak second.
I honestly believe that listening is the most important thing you can do at work in order to be successful.
It sounds simple. You might think you are a good listener. And maybe you are.
But there is always room for improvement when it comes to listening.
Because listening isn’t just the act of listening. It’s also the act of not speaking! This can be very challenging.
I always find that I want to speak immediately if I know an answer, or I have input on something due to past experience. Yet time and time again I am always in a better position when I listen first before speaking my mind. This helps me fully understand what someone is telling me, fully understand how much they know and how much they don’t, and be able to read the situation well enough to know if I even have the right to speak up!
In listening – and waiting to speak – I am actually more respected and viewed as a better thought leader when I do speak. Here’s why:
Now of course, when you do speak, make it smart sounding. Know what you’re talking about. Formulate a response based on what you heard. And if you don’t have a smart response, just ask a few questions and listen some more!
Successful sales people understand how important it is to be a good listener. I think more business people outside of the world of sales can work on this trait in order to be a successful, well-rounded and well-respected professional in the workplace.
I'm Kim. I like to work hard but not enough to stop having fun and enjoying life. I hope I never stop learning and exploring. Other people inspire me to be and do better every day. Read on for reflections on work and play.