A key element in the art of listening is to not be thinking about what you’re going to say while the other person is talking. Quieting your thoughts and really hearing the other person with an open mind sometimes requires a conscious effort.
In How to Be like Coach Wooden by Pat Williams, Coach described the importance of effective listening:
“In my opinion, being an effective leader requires being an effective listener. Success is more often attained by asking ‘how?’ than by saying ‘no.’
“Listen to those under your supervision. Really listen. Don’t act as though you’re listening and let it go in one ear and out the other. Faking it is worse than not doing it at all.”
In his book Wooden on Leadership with Steve Jamison, Coach commented on consistent listening leading to consistent improvement:
“It is very easy to get comfortable in a position of leadership, to believe that you’ve got all the answers, especially when you begin to enjoy some success.
“One of the reasons it’s extremely difficult to stay at the top is because once you get there, it is so easy to stop listening and learning.
“Progress is difficult when you won’t listen.”
Coach’s advice is simple and direct: If you wish to be heard, listen. Always seek to find the best way rather than insisting on your own way.