“Shut Up and Listen”

Published on August 17, 2013 by

Families and companies have a lot in common.

After all, both families and companies are made up of people. That means there are plenty of opportunities for misunderstanding,  unresolved conflict and power plays. On the positive side, there are plenty of opportunities for connection, collaboration and the option of sharing power.

When we aren't connecting, collaborating and sharing the power, everyone is thinking and wishing (and sometimes saying) "Why don't you just shut up and listen?

Of course, our natural response too often is to reply, "I am listening; it's time you shut up and listen to me for a while."

Whether we're talking about a family or a company, here's the litmus test for knowing if we're listening: we hear some form of "Thank you for listening to me; I really feel heard."

If we don't hear that, it's our cue to just shut up for a while and listen.

Without listening, there can be no understanding. If we don't understand and "get" the person or the group we're part of, there's going to be unnecessary frustration, conflict and disengagement.

For companies that means lower productivity and less market share. For families, it means a loss of connection and closeness.

If we want happier families or profitable companies with engagement at all levels, what can we do?

The solution is often simple: "Shut up and listen."

Who is really listening or not listening in your workplace or family? It's my turn to listen and your turn to leave a comment, question or insight.




  1. Dan Black

    What an important topic. Listening skills are essential for everyone, especially leaders.

    • Alan Allard

      Dan, it's always good to see you here. You are right, this is an important topic--the problem is that it isn't a "sexy" topic or even an urgent one.

      • Dan Black

        Glad to share here. So true, it requires effort.

  2. Rob S

    Your litmust test is perfect, Alan, and de-mystifies a lot about communication. Thanks.

    • Alan Allard

      Rob, thanks for stopping by and for your comments, always appreciated.

  3. TJ


    As a leader I always think I have to have the solution. When someone comes to talk to me it is because they need me to solve their problem or offer advice. With that attitude I quickly became overwhelmed.

    As I have grown I realized sometime (many times) people just want to talk and they want you to "Shut up and listen."

    • Alan Allard

      Leaders who think they always have to have the solution are really a part of the problem. You are right, there are times when others just need us to listen, empathize and connect with them. A leaders job isn't to fix people's problems, it's to create more leaders--and one way to do that is to listen, ask questions and help them find their own solutions. Thanks for you comments TJ.

Leave a Comment