Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

7 What makes someone a poor listener?

This activity shows an example of some embarrassingly poor listening, the characteristics of which may be familiar. Later, you will see the same scenario re-imagined with far better listening skills evident.

Activity 6 The bad listener

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this example of a bad listener who is meant to be acting in a supportive career-mentoring role.

Download this video clip.Video player: e119_2018j_vid021-640x360.mp4
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Transcript

WOMAN
So as we previously discussed, I'm at a crossroads now in my career, and I can go in one of two directions. I could stick to what I'm doing now, the project management, or I could do something different, which is to start managing people more and perhaps get to the point where I have my own team, which I think sounds like something I might be interested in actually.
MAN
It's tough though, isn't it, being at a crossroads? I mean, I remember myself when I was at a career crossroads- it's probably 20 years ago now- it really took me ages to work out what I was going to do. And I thought about things like, you know, am I going to go down the people management route or just the project management route. And in the end, I made a really clear decision actually that I was going to go down the project management route.
WOMAN
Right, did you?
MAN
I did. Yeah, yeah.
WOMAN
OK. Yeah, it is a bit confusing thinking- because I know what I'm doing now, and I'm familiar with it, and I'm good at that. Is it worth running the risk of taking on something really challenging, which in the long run could end up being good?
MAN
It sounds to me as if you're a little bit lost and confused here? Or that's what I'm getting from you.
WOMAN
Right- really?
MAN
Or is this something which is a pattern in your life?
WOMAN
I hadn't thought of that before.
MAN
Well, I'm definitely getting a sensation of you being a bit blocked here, you know, and a bit lost. That's how it's coming across to me.
WOMAN
Oh, oh, gosh. OK.
MAN
So I think you need to get a bit clearer in your thinking actually.
WOMAN
Right, I need to get clearer. I thought I was getting quite clear. I was
MAN
You're talking about going people management- the people management route?
WOMAN
Yes, and perhaps that's not such a good idea for me.
MAN
Personally, I don't think that's a great idea. I mean, people are very difficult to manage.
WOMAN
I guess so. And I don't really have the qualifications either.
MAN
Well, that's right, you know? So it sounds like you might be deluding yourself actually a little bit.
WOMAN
Yeah. It's a bit of a dilemma, to be honest. I do find myself a bit worried about making the wrong choice.
MAN
Yeah, So lost, worried, confused- you know, this isn't sounding like you're in a good headspace, is it really?
WOMAN
Right. Perhaps not.
MAN
So I've got a few ideas anyway as to how you could sort this through.
WOMAN
OK. What do you think I should do?
MAN
Well, I think it's about getting really focused thinking to begin with. And if you take my advice, you would really abandon the people management route. I'm not sure it's suited for you.
WOMAN
OK.
MAN
That's what I think.
WOMAN
Right.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Pay attention to what it is that characterises him as being so poor at this skill. Here are some prompt words that may help you identify aspects of his listening behaviour: self, interpretation, opinion.

Think about your own experiences of not being listened to properly: what goes through your mind?

Discussion

The male participant refers to his own agenda and gives the impression the conversation is partly about his own ego. He also offers interpretation of what the other person is saying and promptly offers his own opinion in a way that has little regard for person-centred mentoring and the feelings of the other person.

The type of thoughts that you might have experienced could include:

  • frustration
  • a dent to your confidence
  • a decrease in any respect you hold for the other person
  • perhaps a need to re-state any ideas you were expressing.

An alternative approach, as in this video, is to maintain a polite silence.

It would be very interesting to ask the male in this video and his colleagues to complete the self-evaluation questionnaire from Activity 2. The difficulty of people with egocentric characteristics is that they are poor at reading how others perceive them.

E119_1

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