Effective communication

Video time estimate: 1:30 Minutes

Watch this video as an introduction to change communication.

Topic time estimate: 14 Minutes

Listen to comprehend

To really listen you will need to focus on comprehension. You open your mind, heart and will to observe and understand what has been said.

Sam Palmisano former CEO of IBM talked about how working in Japan was pivotal for his leadership development. In the absence of speaking the same language, he was truly listening to comprehend rather than to object, critique, or convince. 

Research at MIT shows that effective communication is the single most significant factor affecting the success of an individual or a team. It is also the one that is often overlooked. The biggest workplace challenges are problems caused by minor miscommunication. Communicating effectively in change allows you to identify these miscommunications early when they are still easily resolved.

Change Leaders should invest time and effort to be good listeners. Research by Itzchakov and Kluger shows that listening makes employees more cooperative and aware of their strengths and weaknesses. When talking to good listeners we are more willing to reflect in a non-defensive manner.

This counter-acts the natural moderate to high stress and resistance response to changes that 73% of employees report according to Gartner. Without intervention, these 73% of employees under stress performed 5% worse than an average employee.

Active Listening Observation

During your next meeting observe what active listening techniques are being used or which ones do you know?

  • Did anyone use questioning?
  • Did anyone use clarifying or paraphrasing?
  • Did anyone summarise?
  • Did anyone observe any body language cues?

Take a minute to reflect on the value of this observation, take notes on page 6 of your workbook, and upload your assignment below.


Time estimate: 9 Minutes

Listening can happen on four different levels, according to Otto Scharmer, He is a Senior Lecturer in the MIT Management Sloan School and author of The Essentials of Theory U, summarizes the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change. Watch this video to learn more about the four levels of listening:

  1. Listen to confirm what we know
  2. Listen to object what we know
  3. Listen empathically
  4. Listen to shift possibilities



Scroll to Top