Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda pointed out a great truth in this connection; He said, “Humility is a strange thing – the moment you think you have it, you’ve lost it!” Truly, humility flowers when we are ready to appreciate other people’s efforts and not hinder the progress of others. Today, whether in the business field or in any institution – including most families – most people are ready to talk, but rarely to listen. If they do listen, more often or not it is because they are forced to. We can see this in family life as well. When everybody is ready to give an opinion but nobody is ready to listen, how can there be harmony?
A leader who holds an opinion without listening to others will be restricted by his own thinking and limited knowledge. Such restricted thinking may benefit him for a short period of time, but he will likely exhaust his ideas very quickly and lose the respect of the people around him. The best leader is one who listens to others. Listening is an art. It is not merely hearing. Very often we hear others, but the ideas they are trying to convey don’t register in us. Sometimes the best ideas come from simple listening. Leaders can get ideas from listening to staff members, children, even taxi drivers. A good listener will always progress in the world, and will be appreciated by others. When you are talking, you want to be heard, and if nobody listens to you, no matter how brilliant your idea, you will not be able to share it.
Humility is reflected in listening, but it is also very important to know how to listen. A good listener immediately processes information, drops the unnecessary things, and keeps the essence of what he or she has heard. We acquire so many things through our conversations; if we try to keep too much information, too many ideas in the mind, this cramming brings about indecision.