Listening as an Ally

So often, we listen as critics, seeking out the flaws in others’ ideas. What if we tried listening as an ally? Based on his latest book Opening Doors To Teamwork & Collaboration: The 4 Keys That Change Everything, author and organization development pioneer Fred Miller looks at the ways in which this simple change in perspective enables people to join one another, build on the strengths of one another’s ideas, and create a sense of we that transforms the quality of their collaboration.

After viewing the video, review the Ideas for Action and Questions to Ask.

Ideas for Action

  • Be aware of how you’re listening; if you catch yourself trying to one-up someone, put yourself in ally mode.
  • Determine which you use most–ally listening or critic listening.
  • Schedule a meeting with someone you work with on a regular basis, but whom you’d like to know better. Use ally listening in your meeting.
  • Share the concept of ally listening with your team. Ask them to consciously use it during meetings.

Questions to Ask

  • Why might you be inclined to listen to someone as a critic instead of as a friend?
  • Has an unconscious bias ever kept you from making an advantageous move?
  • How can you listen as a friend to someone you don’t get along with?
  • Why is it important to still be able to challenge someone as their ally?