Team & Leadership development

Francis Becks Consulting

Francis Becks is a strategy and leadership development firm based in the Brantford and Greater Toronto Areas. We bring a strengths-focused approach to developing leaders, restructuring businesses and coaching teams to their full potential.

The Art of Listening

There are so many things we could say about the art of listening, so we will break it down into a few different posts.

Let's start with this.

Stop whatever you are doing, put down your phone and listen to what you can hear. From my desk I can hear the sound of a passing car, the dripping of a faucet.

But how often do we take the time to stop everything and fully engage with and listen to the person right in front of us?

I believe it's becoming a lost art.

Beyond that, we often listen with the intent to reply, or expecting a certain answer rather than to hear/understand.


We often listening autobiographically, through our own hearing lens. Take the time to step back over the next few days and as you are engaged in conversations with those around you, pay attention to them, and also how you want to respond.

As they are talking are you doing one of the following?

Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree.

Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference.

Advising: You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.

Interpreting: You analyze others' motives and behaviours based on your own experiences.

Listening builds trust.

Listening builds trust.


There is so much value in actually listening to those around us. Among other things, Listening builds trust and promotes a feeling of safety.

Finding Common Ground

Finding Common Ground is sometimes simple, sometimes difficult, but it can always be accomplished with determination and commitment.

It starts with this:



•ask questions

•humility: I will think of myself less and others more

•adaptability: I will move from my world to theirs

Barriers for finding common ground:

a. assumptions

b. arrogance

c. control:

“I don’t want others to know what I think/care about/feel.”

d. Indifference

And finally, from one of my all-time favourite leaders:

“If you talk to a man in the language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

-Nelson Mandela