Develop a Listening Culture

Careful listening has always been at the core of my approach to managing people, whatever the size or scale of the organization.

At Applied Materials, our “listening culture” began to develop organically because of all the languages that were spoken within our teams. I noticed employees leaning in and listening very carefully to what was being said. Our meetings were conducted in English, but it was clear to me that individuals for whom English was not a first language did not let that faze them. They concentrated on the essence of the ideas they were sharing.

You can have clashes between departments or between disciplines. And you can have misunderstandings of agendas or of motivations that make people dig in and talk louder, instead of struggling to be clear. And so a listening culture is always a valuable asset.

As a manager, model and support calm, well-reasoned discourse — not bravado and yelling. That creates a respectful workplace.

  • Do you encourage a “listening culture” within your organization?
  • How could you foster or enhance your listening culture?
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