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Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Leadership Tips: Three Rules of Intentional Listening

March 24, 2015 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

“When leaders really listen to their people and their customers, powerful things happen,” says Erika Anderson, author of a recent Forbes article: When Things Get Really Bad, Heres The Leadership Skill You Need Most.

“We all give lip service to listening as a leadership and management skill,” Anderson adds. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a leader or a leadership pundit these days who doesn’t support the idea of listening. But actually doing it – and doing it when you’re in a really tough situation, and your overwhelming impulse is just to react – that’s much more difficult.”

We agree with Anderson and her assertion that the “doing” part of listening is a tough skill to master for even the most seasoned leaders. After all, the act of being a good listener in the moment – devoting your full attention, staying focused, reading between the lines and recapping the conversation – is something we all as leaders must continue to work on, especially during challenging times.

But, when it comes to great leadership, we also believe that listening must be intentional. What do we mean by this? As part of our Disney Institute business training program, we teach individuals and organizations that intentional listening is ongoing, proactive listening with a deliberate purpose and the intent to take action.

Here are three simple rules for demonstrating intentional listening:

  1. Take specific action based on what you just heard.
  2. Do not take action, and tell people why.
  3. Repeat #1 and #2…OFTEN!

It just seems too simple, doesn’t it? We all know, however, that “simple” does not mean "easy” to do on an ongoing basis. So, let’s focus on why these rules are so important. It’s because they indicate to people that they have been heard and that what they said matters!

As a massive signal of genuine care, intentional listening is an essential leadership tool that builds relationships and earns employee trust. It takes the “doing” part of listening one step further. And, because people feel a tremendous sense of value and worth when it is clear that leadership is truly listening to them, the impact of intentional listening on employee engagement can be powerful.

If you would like to learn more about utilizing intentional listening in your daily interactions or the impact it can have on employee engagement, consider enrolling in our Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement professional development training course.

Or, for more on this topic, see:

How are you applying these three rules of intentional listening in your organization?

We would love to hear from you!
Post your response below, or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #DThinkBlog.

ABOUT DISNEY INSTITUTE…
Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide to provide relevant illustrations and engaging stories that help you develop the customer experience culture you are capable of delivering. With professional development courses offered by Disney Institute, you will discover ways to positively impact your organization and the customers you serve as you are immersed in leadership, culture, service and beyond.


Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form




Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Tips, Leadership Training, Culture, Employee Engagement, Listening, Intentional Listening, Bruce Jones


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