The principle of "give and you will receive" was important to me as a child and though the context is different, it continues to hold true today. After all, there isn't much in the world more fulfilling than wholeheartedly giving to another in need. Over the past few months, I have been very fortunate to receive a new understanding of this concept in the art of listening. Not merely hearing and assigning, but listening. Quite the opposite of hearing a colleague speak while immediately assessing the benefits and costs, etc., and waiting for my turn to participate in the process. I'm finding that truly listening to another, my thoughts aside, and building from there is a magical experience in process and outcome.
In my experience, no matter the setting, teamwork is often framed on the tenets of bringing multiple perspectives and talents together to form a concept, gain consensus on the trajectory of the project at hand and taking action that's measurable. We debrief to learn from missteps and start all over again. Next. However, what Generative Leadership Group calls, generous listening, brings a whole new dimension to this process. The concept is simple, but application requires the listener to be present and focused on the speaker's meaning, from the speaker's point of view rather than the many filters found in "automatic listening" running just under our conscious radar. This form of listening derives judgments and opinions from our personal experience, belief systems, and everything past or what we "know." The beauty in generous listening is the open space we consciously reserve for co-creating and uncovering possibilities for the future - uncharted territory. What's important is having the awareness and understanding that we have a choice to engage in automatic or generous listening depending on the situation at hand.
As I continue to examine the basis for each and to bring generous listening into every aspect of my life, I'm finding that automatic listening is part of our ego's central nervous system that protects us and drives us to succeed. This MO has served many folks well over the hills and valleys of life. Unfortunately, the ego brings baggage that, more often than not, interferes with the very moment, conversation, interaction and attitude needed to discover that one special chain of consciousness that leads to possibility after possibility. I'm grateful for this opportunity to learn more about myself and those I interact with everyday.