Are you listening? As executives, we can easily trap ourselves in information bubbles, a result of overconfidence or simply, outdated ideas about leadership. We generally have access to more lines of communication than anybody else, but the information that flows to us is suspect and compromised. Warning signals are tamped down. Key facts are omitted. Data sets are given a positive spin. All of this noise isolates leaders in a dangerous information bubble. How can we avoid this trap? The art of listening has two key components: Listening without distraction or judgment, purely for comprehension; and creating systems and processes that not only make listening active but also elevate it to a state of hypervigilance. This article offers some helpful advice: Protect against blind spots; de-emphasize hierarchy; and give permission to share bad news – to name a few. My personal favorite is listening without judgment or an agenda – that’s one that keeps me in the present.

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