Coach Wooden believed one of the most important qualities to gain cooperation, collaboration, friendship or to be a leader is your ability to be a great listener. There are five levels of listening. Most of us listen at different levels depending on who we are listening to. Last week I described Level One (The Impatient Listener) and Level Two (The Over Eager Listener).
The next three levels of listening:
3. Level Three: The Subject Matter Expert On Everything Listener (SMEOE): The SMEOE will listen and then always respond with a bigger story or more knowledge, "You went to Greece. They went around the world." "You have an idea. They think it’s good but always have a way to improve on it". Consider this: "If somebody gives you a good idea, make sure sometimes you just say I like that. You do not need to add in your improvement to the idea every time even though you have one. Let them get some wins." If you do this people will bring you more ideas and feel good about themselves. Often, they will go home and share their accomplishment with their family.
4. Level Four: The Misunderstood Listener: The misunderstood listener does a great job of actively listening to learn, but then does not respond in a manner that is understood by the other person. The other person then takes away something completely different from the conversation than what the misunderstood listener was trying to get across. A coach told me that after a player meeting, he will have the team member go back to the dorm and send him an email explaining exactly what he/she took away from the meeting.
5. Level Five: The Great Listener: The great listener views every conversation as great opportunity to learn. They listen in a focused manner, only concentrating on what the other person is saying. They never interrupt and allow a quiet moment to make sure the other person is done. They may not always add their idea and might just say: "thank you for sharing that I appreciate it." If the great listener is asked a question they sometimes will respond with a question like "What do you think?". If they do respond they will answer exactly the question they were asked and pause, rather than expounding or going off on a tangent or telling a story about themselves. This often leads the person they are talking to ask another question. The great listener is clear, concise, and compelling and causes other people to think rather than telling them what to think. The great listener is never judgmental and only offers their opinion if asked to do so and never offers advice. John Wooden was a Great Listener with everybody.
There’s the mother at the doorway, and the children at the gate,
And the little parlor windows with the curtains white and straight.
There are shaggy asters blooming in the bed that lines the fence,
And the simplest of the blossoms seems of mighty consequence.
Oh, there isn't any mansion underneath God's starry dome
That can rest a weary pilgrim like the little place called home.
Men have sought for gold and silver; men have dreamed at night of fame;
In the heat of youth they've struggled for achievement's honored name;
But the selfish crowns are tinsel, and their shining jewels paste,
And the wine of pomp and glory soon grows bitter to the taste.
For there's never any laughter howsoever far you roam,
Like the laughter of the loved ones in the happiness of home.