Thought leadership

Enhancing management capability: growing an active listening culture in your organisation

This article shares the strategies to develop a culture of active listening within your business, highlighting the importance of it and the negative impact when not embedded correctly. 

The effects of poor listening

Hearing is commonly mistaken for listening, and while not hearing someone well can be frustrating, not listening to them well has high potential to create a negative culture. Examples of poor listening skills include not paying attention to what is being said, interrupting others, making assumptions, multitasking during conversations, and failing to provide feedback. Amongst attendees there was a shared sentiment that being on the receiving end of poor listening often creates feelings of being undervalued, disempowered, awkward and frustrated. When feelings such as these begin to embed with individuals, and eventually teams, the effect can be damaging to an organisation’s success. Georgie shared examples of when minimal effort is made to focus on and understand what people are trying to communicate can lead to ineffectiveness, low levels of accountability, avoidance of difficult conversations, and weak performance management.

Top reasons for developing listening skills

The discussion highlighted many key benefits associated with enhancing your listening skills, both for personal development and betterment of the organisation, including the ability to strengthen trust and credibility held with the people around you. In addition, actively listening facilitates more open and honest communication, helping to stimulate innovation and diverse thinking within the organisation where there is now confidence that ‘no idea is a bad idea’. Lastly, cultivating active listening unlocks autonomy by empowering employees with the right skills and resources.

The trust equation: building relationships through active listening

Building trust and relationships within your organisation is super-charged through active listening and this includes listening to what is not being said in the environment. Being actively present when in conversations, paying attention to not only the words but the tone, the physical space of those talking, will force you to be fully engaged and better prepared to respond and act. You will become known as a person with genuine empathy and response, developing your credibility and relationships across the organisation.

Overcoming the era of remote working

The rise of remote and hybrid work models present a new set of challenges to cultivating an active listening culture. Our guests acknowledged the combination of reduced face-to-face interactions and increased volume of virtual calls has made it more accessible to multitask, but in doing so sacrificing the attention given to each task and person. It requires resolve to dedicate yourself to focus on even on short conversations to create help foster this culture.

The purpose of listening: being present and empowering others

Active listening serves two main purposes: 1. Being of service to others, and 2. Allowing individuals to feel heard and valued By adopting and exemplifying a practice of giving high-quality attention, asking meaningful questions at the right moment, and engaging in purposeful conversations, organisations can elevate their listening culture and create an environment conducive to personal and professional growth. Teams that are satisfied they are being actively listened to are less likely to hear the noises outside of your organisation. If you’d like to find out more about our current Future CPO series or to know about the previously discussed topics, please reach out to

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