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If you’re willing to ask, are you willing to listen?

By Mike Klockenbrink

So how’s it going? A common phrase we casually say to many people on a daily basis. But, do you really want to know the answer? Most of us do when we have the time or it’s convenient.

Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell when someone’s not having a stellar day. There are several tell-tale signs. Take, for example, the frustrated coworker. You know the look:  on a mission, eyes popped out, nostrils flared and look like they got a little too much sun. Or maybe it’s the administrative assistant’s precious moment. You know the look: big eyes looking up at you, quivering chin and an occasional sniffle or tear in their eye.

So let’s try this again. How’s it going? No really, how’s it going? Are you willing to stop what you’re doing and listen?

A while back a frustrated employee walked by my office with another coworker. I asked, “How’s it going?” Mr. Frustrated stopped and looked right at me and said, “Do you really want to know?” I said sure. Did I really just say sure? What was I thinking? I’m buried in work right now. I don’t have time for this.

For the next 30+ minutes I listened. How often is it that we just want to be heard? I can only imagine how the rest of this guy’s day might have gone had I not taken the time to listen. Strangely enough, I got everything done I needed to and I felt a lot better that I had taken the time to listen.

We are all in the people business. Whether it’s at work, home or play, people matter. We don’t always know the impact we can have on someone if we just listen. Carly Fiorina said at the Leadership Summit a couple of years ago, “People don’t necessarily want to have their way, they just want to have their way heard”.

If you’re willing to ask, are you really willing to listen?

So, how’s it going today? No really, how’s it going?

Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church, Folsom, CA. www.lakesidechurch.com.

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