Our project teams come together temporarily to solve a series of problems. As the group learns to work together and struggles to find new solutions, they are likely to disagree time and time again. Though such disagreement is a sign of a healthy dialogue, not everyone is used to or comfortable with this type of disagreement or conflict. The listening skills we have described here enable the people to use respectful conversations as they discuss ideas, maintaining relationships while pursuing the best solution. To the degree that a team leader can teach these skills, it can help the team move more quickly through Tuck-man's Storming phase.
Finally, listening skills have a special role in the high-performance team framework: All of the other capabilities depend on team members being able to listen effectively.
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We can all recall situations where we have utterly failed to listen to what someone else is saying. For various reasons, we are simply not taking in anything useful. How many times have you been introduced to a person by name only to not know what their name is thirty seconds later?