Are you a bad listener on the job?


Did you know that April is Listening Awareness Month? Career expert, performance management coach and author Joe Takash has helped high-profile clients like American Express and Prudential improve the listening skills of their staff members. He has developed what he calls, “The 4 sins of bad business listeners.” Here’s the list of bad listening traits:

  • Interrupting
  • Finishing the other person’s sentences
  • Lying or faking it when you haven’t been paying attention
  • Rehearse your agenda while the other person is talking

While Takash states that we are all guilty of these listening sins from time to time, being a bad listener on a regular basis obviously can damage your work relationships. How can you be a fully engaged team player if you are not listening to your team members?

So are you guilty of being a bad business listener? What about your co-workers or bosses?

17 comments Add your comment


April 17th, 2009
7:48 am

I am guilty of all 4. Sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered.


April 17th, 2009
7:58 am

i have all the bad listening traits, but i think that’s b/c the people that do talk to me are usually
idiots not worthy of being listened to in the first place.

My Guess is....

April 17th, 2009
8:15 am

“sharon” and “mike” are either the same person or are married to each other.


April 17th, 2009
8:28 am

I agree with sharon, and if you are human you know that we have done exactly what mike and sharon has done. Me, personally, I am guilty of all 4 when someone is either irate or yelling at me, or if what they are saying is so off the wall. I will never forget as a child my mom took me to a physician because she thought I was hard of hearing. She was quite happy to find out that I passed all hearing test, but was unhappy with me when my doctor told her I had selective hearing. See my mom would yell at me and i would turn her into Charlie Brown’s teacher wonk wonk wonk and not listen…Needless to say I was punished when we returned from the doctor’s and i have kept that trait through out my life. Sharon or Mike, I bet neither of you were listening were you!!! LOL


April 17th, 2009
8:43 am

All of us are guilty of the above at one time or another. Sometimes there is the long-winded talker that does not get to the point (something I’m guilty of often) or you don’t have time or you are in a bad mood. . . . whatever. It happens.

But there are some listeners that are enormously worse than others. I’m to blame here as well, but I do notice the exceptionally poor listeners are the twitterers, IM chatters, texters, etc. These technologies are great. I use them myself. But we must be aware of the pitfalls of such tech; poor listening habits being one of those pitfalls.


April 17th, 2009
8:55 am

I’m sorry. What?

Not again

April 17th, 2009
9:03 am

Another sign of a bad listener is the telling of the same old stories over and over again. If it did not happen in this decade there is no need to tell it, especially over and over again.


April 17th, 2009
9:05 am

I’m guilty of all 4 but my main issue is severe ADD. My mind wanders really bad. My fault though, I should try harder.

Mike S

April 17th, 2009
9:15 am

True. Most of us are guilty but in many cases we are justified especially when you ask a simple question and the person beats around the bush- so we interrupt. Right?


April 17th, 2009
9:17 am

Maybe we aren’t bad listeners, maybe you are a lousy talker.


April 17th, 2009
9:21 am

“Not again” you are so right! If it did not happen in this decade there is no need to tell it over and over again. Heck, even if it happened months ago I don’t want to hear the same story over and over. I have a co-worker who is always bragging about the stud football player he was in high school! Keep in mind this man has clearly been out of high school 35 years!. I have the co-worker who likes to stop at my desk and tell me about her day at the YWCA. Baby stories always make my mind wonder. I tune out stutterers, long people and people who brag. Time is too valuable to waste on idle chatter. If people could learn to read body language then we wouldn’t be bad listeners because they would know when to shut up.


April 17th, 2009
9:44 am

Like, I don’t think I’m a bad listner.Like, maybe you’re the one that’s a bad listner. Like, I’m just trying to get my point across. Like, do you know what I mean? Like, maybe I should text you while driving to work. Like, I’m an authority on the subject. Like, Im talking here. Like, it’s all about me.

Watta Load

April 17th, 2009
10:09 am

What? I’m sorry I wasn’t listening.


April 17th, 2009
10:24 am

Rude – One-and-the-Same – Interrupting.


April 28th, 2009
2:34 pm

I am guilty of 1, 2 and 4 ok, and maybe 3…lol. But honestly, I don’t think it’s me, my mng is a bad listner as well, she’ll instruct/ask me to do something, then turn right back around and will ask me again or I’ll give her an update and she’ll again she will ask about what I told her. The reason why I tend to not listen to others at times is because it’s either I already know what’s going on and pretend as if I’m listening, or I just don’t be in the mood to listen to people who are not open minded when it comes to expressing ideas on a job.


April 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

And I forgot to add, I can’t help interrupting callers who tends to asks questions that I hear on a daily basis. I just try to make a long story short.


May 4th, 2009
10:44 am

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