By this point, you know the difference between a “we” and “me” mindset, and a few characteristics that fall under each category. This article discusses the difference between listening to win and listening to understand, and how they fit in.
Despite the alluring name, listening to win does not actually indicate a victory. Unfortunately, listening to win, while very common, falls under the “me” mindset that stops us from truly listening to what others have to say. One of the biggest examples of this is when we introduce ourselves to another person and our minds go completely blank as they speak so that we can figure out something to say. In that moment, we forget that we are asking because we care. Instead, we care about how others will perceive us and how we can gain an imaginary social interaction badge for giving a good answer.
Another way that we can make the mistake of listening to win is by speaking too much about ourselves. When someone opens up to us, rather than responding with a similar story, respond with a question about what they told you. The time will come when the person will be curious about what you have to say as well, but in the meantime, you just let that person know that you value their input.
Listening to understand means listening with intention, care, and compassion. So, go out there and listen as if their life depended on it.