Often we don’t notice it, but as leaders taking on varied roles in one’s personal and professional life, we find ourselves hearing and not listening.
When we truly dial into our listening intelligence, that’s when it strengthens connections and improves relationships that reinforce the human capacity for positive societal change.
Ebele Chukwujama is a Chief Executive with 22 years of progressive experience in Banking, Consulting, and Human Development. Amongst her numerous leadership positions, she was the Division Lead – Aviation Group within the Corporate Banking Division of Zenith Bank Plc. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Aloeglobal Lifestyle and Wellness Services and also Chief Executive Officer of Poise Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s Premier Personality Branding and Communication Company.
She is a certified coach with Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy, a member of the John Maxwell Team, and the founder of The Listening School, the very first in Africa. The Listening School is a disruptive start-up on a mission to revolutionize human connection, promote real-time problem solving, increase individual productivity, and ultimately improve business processes by building a culture of listening that will help develop more productive, effective workforces and bottom line, leveraging the art of listening intelligence.
The Listening school wants to impact relationships and society, one listening ear at a time.
In this episode, Ebele shares how we can overcome just ”hearing” the other person and instead truly exercise listening, putting aside all biases, and coming in with an attitude of curiosity.
That way, we give people a sense of respect and self-worth, making them matter in society.
“It’s powerful when we listen; it makes people feel valued, respected and gives a sense of dignity and a sense of self-worth.” – Ebele Chukwujama
Listen IN Notes:
00:32 – The moment Ebele noticed the power of listening: In my previous role as a CEO of a consulting company we offered speaking, writing, and all of that. And it occurred to me that we didn’t offer listening, and I’m like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Then I went deeper into research. And I realized that listening is the incontrovertible half of communication. And it just hit me.”
01:10 – What is it about that moment that hit her: “I thought, I hadn’t even been listening. I have just been hearing. And you know, hearing isn’t listening.”
02:36 – One important thing she’s realized now about listening: “When you say I hear you, you’re not listening, and that you can’t multitask.”
02:58 – The impact listening is making in her life: “I realized that a lot of my time and attention, it’s paying off my relationships with people, my interactions with my children, and society.
03:56 – Message to other CEOs and leaders: “Just listen, there’s something deep inside each of us that yearns for attention.”
05:03 – Initiatives she helps promote in the listening school she manages: “We facilitate listening intelligence as part of a leadership strategy, we help people enhance relationships, promote real-time problem solving and productivity.”
06:43 – Knowing that everything is in alignment even with people listening and understanding things in different ways
08:18 – Overcoming the biases we have for the people we engage to listen to: “When you’re coming to a listening engagement, I feel the listener or the leader has to have a curious mindset. That means you’re dropping all biases.”
09:17 – Advice to leaders who are too busy: “80% of your time is devoted to listening as a leader. If 80% of your work day is devoted to listening, then you must make time to listen.“
10:01 – Leaders learning how to practice listening: “Self-awareness is mastery.”
11:17 – Checking out and checking back into the conversation: “Use powerful, open-ended questions to get back into the conversation.“
12:58 – Becoming aware of the different cultures and languages: Culture is complex and influences people in many different ways. However, generally speaking, our culture influences the way that we think and express our feelings, which can create barriers to communication.”
14:41 – What’s in store for the Listening School: “I’m committed to impacting relationships and society.“
15:26 – Not interrupting but continuing to listen even when you get bored
18:16 – An experience of how curiosity and not interrupting significantly impacted her.
22:19 – Ebele shares great tips on being self-aware and conscious of listening.
“Just be present and pay attention.” – Ebele Chukwujama
“Do not multitask while you’re listening.” – Ebele Chukwujama
“Listen to understand and not to respond.” – Ebele Chukwujama
“Ask open-ended questions. Listening is a gift to the speaker. Together, we can impact our relationships and society while listening one ear at a time.” – Ebele Chukwujama
“I have watched many times the transformation that takes place when someone finally has the opportunity to be listened to. Practice makes improvement.” – Ebele Chukwujama
“Having that curious mind that no matter what it is, by going into a meeting, there’s something everyone has to share with me. Because that’s where you have the growth mindset because we learn and we grow daily.” – Ebele Chukwujama
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