After a lifetime of waiting for our turn to speak, it can be hard to close our mouths and open our ears. Which is too bad, because listening, although rarely mentioned in the skills section on a resume, is one of the most important things we can do to get ahead at work.
One of the biggest myths about professional women and success is that it's easier to get ahead in the workplace if you exhibit traditionally "masculine" qualities. Often these perceived traits include being assertive, confident, solution-focused, and ambitious. If it were true that men always behaved this way, and women never did, "think like a man" would be great career advice. But, there's one glaring flaw in that wisdom.
If you've ever tried to up your listening game, you know it's harder than it seems. It's not a matter of simply cultivating interest in what the speaker is saying, or suppressing the tendency to wait for your chance to talk. This week's roundup includes insight into why you can't become a better listener, just by listening harder – plus, how to improve, the right way, and an explanation of why all those productivity hacks aren't helping you to get more done.
Hollywood would like us to believe that everyone goes to school, works hard, and quickly winds up in their dream job. From pauper to Wall Street, shy guy to leading man, or mailroom clerk to CEO, it's all about that fairytale ending. Now brush the popcorn from your lap and let your eyes readjust to the light, because the movie's over and we're heading back to reality.
Part of your job at work is to listen, which sounds easier than it is. With so much emphasis on fulfilling action items, and on productivity overall, the art of listening well is increasingly undervalued in the modern American workplace.