We often hear organizations chant, “People are our greatest asset.”

People do work long hours and their work relationships are also a big part of their social life.

We spend a lot of time with our coworkers and listening is a critical skill for maintaining positive personal and professional relationships.

Here are a couple of questions to consider.  Are you most concerned with creating and maintaining positive relationships?  Are you typically less judgmental about what others say?  Do you tune into others’ moods and respond to others’ feelings and ideas?  Are you more interested in understanding and supporting people than evaluating them?  If so, you may be a people-oriented listener.

There are many benefits to having people-oriented listeners on your team.  They demonstrate a strong concern for relationships and people.  They help facilitate disclosure and promote a supportive communication climate.

However, if you are always listening as a people-oriented listener, there can be a few drawbacks.  You may become overly involved with others’ feelings.  You may lose a level of detachment, or professional distance, and the ability to assess the quality of information, in an effort to be congenial and supportive.  Also, less personally oriented communicators, can view you as overly expressive and even intrusive.

When your relationship with coworker needs attention, adopt a people-oriented approach.

Keep in mind, you can boost your effectiveness by assessing the listening preferences of your conversational partners and adapting your style to them.

Relationships are not a luxury, they are a necessity.  Whichever style you use, it is important to recognize that you can control the way you listen and to use the style that best suits the situation at hand.

If your organization is suffering with miscommunication, contact me at kit@welchlin.com and I will provide a fun, engaging, and informative presentation on effective listening skills.