How your personality can work against you in the area of listening


In local government there is a lot of stress on teams to get more done with less.   This is also true in private industry, but since local governments literally serve everyone in a community, the pressure to get things done is unique. 

Without good listening instructions fall apart, people feel dismissed, mistakes occur, projects fail or are delayed, productivity goes down and frustration pervades. 

Your personality plays a role in how well you listen.   

  • If you’re a dominate or driver style personality, you may have a hard time listening to others because you already know the answer….so why even listen!   Strong driver styles are actually often right, so they get impatient with listening, gathering others' input and needless research.
  • If you are an inspiring and influencer style personality, you may struggle to listen as your mind can easily get overloaded as you take in the information around you.  This personality style often has so many ideas and projects going, they find it hard to stop and focus on just one thing. 
  • If you are a supportive or stable style personality, you may hold back sharing your opinion as you don't want to offend others or come across as heavy-handed.   You may listen pretty well, but you likely  don't want to offend others, so you just nod to get along.  That's not complete communication. 
  • And, lastly, if you are a cautious or conscientiousness style personality, you may be so preoccupied with facts and figures that you are not aware of the body language in what someone is saying.  You may be so demanding for your level of excellence and quality that you don't tune in to what others are trying to tell you. 

Once you've come to grips with how your personality affects your listening, begin to practice "active listening”. 

  1. Pay attention and maintain focus on the person you’re talking to; this means they put their phones down when talking to someone. 
  2. Demonstrate they are listening by clarifying what they heard back to the speaker; "so, if I hear you right you are saying...."
  3. Provide valuable feedback to the person speaking, both verbally or nonverbally, such as nodding or saying "yes" as the person speaks.
  4. Don’t interrupt while others are speaking.  There's a time to share your perspective, but just wait until the person is finished to speak. 

Feel free to use the ideas shared here to help your team improve in the area of communications. 

If your City, County, department or Agency has morale, professional development deficiencies or teamwork challenges, LeaderGov’s monthly live online workshops can help.  Feel free to contact us at or via email at [email protected] 


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