#Listening Research and its Power with Associate Professor Guy Itzchakov

High-quality listening has a lot of power to impact challenging conversations, engagement and burnout. And we are only at the beginning of learning about the potential of listening and what is possible. In this episode, we dive into current research and open questions.

Guy Itzchakov, an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Services at University of Haifa, shares what he is discovering empirically about listening.  His research focuses on high quality listening as an avenue for growth at  individual and organizational levels. He also studies attitude ambivalence, attitude-behavior relationships, and goal setting. Guy graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy – PhD focused in General Business Administration and Management from The Hebrew University. 

In this episode, Guy shares how cultivating a climate of listening and genuinely getting interested in other people helps motivation, engagement, provides higher psychological safety that help avoid emotional exhaustion, and lowers turnover in an organization.

“When you listen, you are not invisible. On the contrary, you are actually the one who sets the tone.” – Guy Itzchakov

 Listen IN Notes:

01:13 – What he is discovering further about listening after the last podcast recording: “The more I study listening, the more I realize how much depth this topic has, and how much there is more to discover.

04:24 – Differentiating in-person versus online listening

11:23 – Sharing studies about how speakers are affected by being listened to.

18:26 – Looking forward to the day when people discover the benefits of effective listening though experiences

20:39 – Talking about a project published recently: 

 Whether being listened to can reduce a speaker’s loneliness when they talk about being socially rejected.

24:35 – Difference between moderate listening and high quality listening

27:51 – Manager listening versus colleague listening

32:16 – Touching on research about how to sell ideas to stakeholders

34:35 – What often happens when we wait before we reply, listen before we react

35:50 – What managers in organizations can do to support listening: “I think first is awareness of the importance of listening.”

38:34 – Getting an idea of what a listening climate looks like

42:19 – How to listen in disagreements 

48:53 – Talking about the concept of self-insight

50:19 – What good listening can do to disagreements: “I think it can create more harmony during the disagreement.” 

54:11 – How to do more effective listening

57:27 – Cultivating a listening attitude and having genuine interest in other people and in what they say

Key Takeaways:

“When speakers felt listened to well, versus in the moderate level, they reported less deep loneliness.” – Guy Itzchakov

“When you talk about the evidence of listening in the organization, it’s the realization of how listening is important. That listening is not passive behavior. It’s not just you being silent and nodding your head…It’s much more.” – Guy Itzchakov

When cultivating a listening climate, it’s not enough that the manager says , ‘You know, I have an open door policy, you can talk to me whenever you want’. They need to show it.” – Guy Itzchakov

Listening during disagreements leads to a higher sense of connection as perceived by the speaker with the listener, more knowledge about one’s attitude, self-insights, and it has downstream effects on the structure of the attitude.” – Guy Itzchakov

I don’t think listening can shift an attitude during a disagreement unless under very specific circumstances. But I do believe that it can create more harmony during the disagreement.” – Guy Itzchakov

Be aware that there is a lot of supporting evidence about how active the role of the listener is in shaping the conversation and the consequences.” – Guy Itzchakov


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