“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is the fifth of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The opposite of this habit is simply not listening to others. And not listening to others is the third of seven behaviors that often causes a person to lose their job at organizations like SpringHill.
Not listening to others, like the other 6 behaviors that lead to people losing their jobs, is rooted in arrogance or its sister self-righteousness. Because when a person believes they know more than anyone else they conclude there’s nothing to learn from others.
Now not listening to others usually takes on one of two different forms.
The first is when a person does all the talking (because if you know everything there is to know then you assume everyone else will want to hear what you have to say). Doing all the talking and assuming that others want to know what you think is the epitome of self-centeredness and the opposite of being other-focused.
The second form of not listening is simply not asking questions or taking the initiative to seek out what others know or have to say. Real listening, listening that actively seeks to understand another person requires asking good and meaningful questions. Asking questions also keeps us humble and from slipping out of reality and into self-delusion.
Think about it, have you ever had a conversation or a relationship with someone where they did all the talking or never asked your thoughts or sought to get to know you? For me the message is the other person doesn’t believe I have anything of value to contribute. Or even worst, I begin to wonder if I have any value personally in their eyes. Either way, not listening to others slowly but surely erodes a relationship, and wearing out a relationship will always lead to wearing out one’s welcome in an organization.43.928283-85.286682
In my previous post I shared the seven behaviors that cause job failure for people in organizations such as SpringHill. But before we dive into these seven behaviors we need to understand their root cause – arrogance and its disguise – self-righteousness.
Arrogance, by definition, is thinking of oneself more highly than merited, it’s an exaggerated view of one’s self and their contributions to an organization. Arrogance often leads to aggressive, self-centered and ultimately destructive behavior. As a result we know an arrogant person when we meet one. There is just an air about them. And, though we may respect what such a person accomplishes, we rarely like their odor.
Self-righteousness, on the other hand, is arrogance disguised as humility. And because humility is just a ruse, it never truly bottles up the arrogance inside. Yet self-righteous people can be remarkable at managing their behavior and speech to appear humble, leaving us unsure about odor we smell. But in the end managed behavior always has cracks, cracks that leak the person’s arrogance. And arrogance has an odor all its own, making it easy to distinguish from true humility and righteousness’ fragrance.
And what is this odor? It’s the seven behaviors arrogant and self-righteous people to often display and which ultimately leads to their job failure. And it’s these seven behaviors we’ll look at over the next few posts.43.928283-85.286682