How Well Do You Listen?
The following listening assessment provides the opportunity to examine your listening behavior patterns. In other words, it will help you answer the question, "how well do you listen"? Remember, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers.
Choose the letter that best describes your first response to the person in the situation who is expressing a problem. You are not looking for the "right" response or how you would like to respond, but how you would, indeed, respond to people in these situations.
1. One supervisor to another supervisor:
"The company policy is supposed to be to hire from within the company. And now I find out that this new guy is coming in to replace my boss. I had my eyes on that job; I've been working hard for it. Well, if that's what they think of me, I know when I'm not wanted."
|____a. ||"It can be disappointing when the company seems to have forgotten about you by hiring outside the company, especially when you put a lot of hard work into your job." |
|____b. ||"Maybe your qualifications don't compare with those of the new person's." |
|____c. ||"I would make sure they know your views and let them know your interest in advancement." |
|____d. ||"Did they discuss it with you at all?" |
2. "It happens every time my manager appears in my department. He just takes over as if I weren't there. When he sees something he doesn't like, he tells the employee what to do and how to do it. The employees get confused, I get upset, and finally he leaves. I'm responsible to him, so what can I do?"
|____a. ||"You should discuss your problems with your boss." |
|____b. ||"When did this start to happen?" |
|____c. ||"The boss must be the boss, I suppose, and we all have to learn to live with it." |
|____d. ||"It upsets you that your manager takes over and gives conflicting directions. You're not sure what would be the most appropriate way to confront him about your feelings regarding his behavior." |
3. "It's happened again! I was describing an office problem to my manager and she starts staring out the window. She doesn't seem to be really listening to me because she has to ask me to repeat things. I feel she's superficially giving me the time to state my problems, but she ends up side-stepping the issue."
|____a. ||"You should stop talking when you feel she's not listening to you. That way she'll start paying attention to you." |
|____b. ||"You can't expect her to listen to every problem you have; anyway... you should learn to solve your own problems." |
|____c. ||"What kind of problems do you talk to her about?" |
|____d. ||"It's frustrating to have your boss behave this way when you're talking about problems that are important for you to solve." |
4. "I think I'm doing all right, but I don't know where I stand. I'm not sure what my boss expects of me, and he doesn't tell me how I'm doing. I'm trying my best, but I wonder who else knows that. I wish I knew where I stood."
|____a. ||"Has your boss ever given you any indication of what he thinks of your work?" |
|____b. ||"If I were you, I'd discuss it with him." |
|____c. ||"Perhaps others are also in the same position, so you shouldn't let it bother you." |
|____d. ||"Not knowing if you're satisfying your boss leaves you feeling unsure, and you'd like to know just what he expects from you." |
5. "As long as I've got a goal ahead, I'll keep striving for it. I'm determined to advance my career; hard work never bothered me. I know it won't be easy, and I'll probably have to climb over a few people. This is important to me!"
|____a. ||"You shouldn't have to climb over people to get what you want." |
|____b. ||"Getting ahead is very important in your life, even if it means hard work, and it won't be easy." |
|____c. ||"What in particular do you want to achieve?" |
|____d. ||"You should take some management classes to help you advance." |
I. Circle the responses you checked.
EMPATHETIC RESPONSE: A nonjudgmental response that captures the essential theme and/or feeling expressed, a potential for building rapport and mutual understanding.
RECOMMENDATION RESPONSE: A response that offers advice, tells the talker what to do or what not to do, solves the problem or does the thinking for the talker.
ASKING FOR INFORMATION RESPONSE: A response that asks for additional information to get a clear understanding before responding. Used to excess, the talker may feel "grilled."
CRITICAL RESPONSE: A response that expresses a form of criticism resulting from a natural tendency to judge, approve, or disapprove of a message received.
II. Examine your listening response pattern.
1. The response I use most often is...
2. The response I use least is...
III. What does this listening response pattern tell you about yourself?
1. What do you want to maintain?
2. What would you like to modify?