Are your team-members readers or listeners?


Photo by Daniel Gebhart

I took the opportunity of the Easter break to travel to Melbourne. When you travel, you have a lot of wasted time, where you can’t really read (I can’t read on trains, buses or cars). Usually on these times I am sitting in one place not particularly concentrated in anything special.  So, I used this opportunity to try to listen to a podcast for the first time. My good friend Staci gave a few podcasts from the radio show “This American Life“. The show is very good and I recommend it. But I am digressing.

This was not the first time that I “consumed” information using hearing. Everybody who has a car listens to radio (sometimes even serious stuff). When I was living back in Israel, I used to cook with the TV open, listening to the news. But this is the first time that I actually intentionally listened to a serious program in order to learn, while riding the train, walking around the airport or driving. And even though I enjoyed it, and I think I will try to use this form of learning more it made me thinking about my style of absorbing information. I am reader.

When I say I am a reader (as opposed to listener), I mean it in the sense Peter Drucker talks about it. I read it in a different book of his, but here it is from the book “Classic Drucker“:

The first thing to know is whether you are a reader or a listener. Far too few people even know that there are readers and listeners and that people are rarely both. Even fewer know which of the two they themselves are.

Drucker then goes to make the case that these are the two ways people acquire information and  gives examples of readers who tried to be listeners and failed and vice versa. His advice? Find out which one you are and surround yourself by people who provide you the information in the right way – great writers, or great talkers.

That made me think – when is the last time you gave a thought not only to the type you are, but to what type makes your team?Are your team-members listeners or readers? How do you communicate with them? Do you do it by e-mail or in meetings? Do you expect them to come to meetings prepared after reading the material or do you give a summary of things in the beginning of a meeting? More importantly, do you choose them, so they will fit you preferences and needs?

Knowing oneself is important. Many of us do it naturally. But we should be aware not to make the mistake of assuming everybody is like us. Let’s find out. Let’s think about it. Let’s use it.



One Response to “Are your team-members readers or listeners?”

  1. Are you making the most out of your communication channels? « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] mix and to send the right messages using the right tools. We need to remember that some people are listeners and some are readers. We need to remember that some people like to get all the information online (on a computer and all […]

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