Episode 90: The Benefits of Deep Listening

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: October 4, 2022


Over the last few years, we have gathered data from over 18,000 leaders on their preference for speaking versus deep listening. While very few completely doubt the efficacy of deep listening, many leaders fail to see the remarkable value of being an excellent listener.

Rather than taking the time to carefully understand the other person, 46% of respondents noted their preference to “translate their experience into practical, logical advice.” Predictably, 18% of the respondents indicated that “people frequently drop hints that they could be a better listener.”

In this episode, we’re sharing the research behind the rich rewards that come from deep listening.

Key Points

  • Leaders with the lowest effectiveness on listening (e.g., the bottom 10%) were rated at only the 13th percentile in “building relationships” and the 14th percentile on “generates trust.” Those in the top 10% were rated at the 88th percentile on both capacities.

  • Deep listening leads to asking more compelling questions. Research has shown that people who cultivate positive relationships in many walks of life are more positive and less stressed with work.

  • One survey reported the startling statistic that 29% of employees describe not having received any recognition or commendation within the past year.
  • The person who listens is more trusted by others, and at the same time, the listening process generates the listener’s trust in others.
  • Although giving feedback is focused on talking, good listeners are rated significantly higher on their ability to provide others with honest feedback.
  • Leaders who are skilled at deep listening understand the concerns and frustrations of other groups, which in turn hastens ways to resolve the differences.

Connect with Jack Zenger


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8 Unforeseen Rewards of Those Who Listen More–  Article by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman