1. Which barriers to listening described in Chapter 3 might make it difficult for Mark and Kate to hear one another’s perspectives when they meet to discuss the situation? Listening is very important in communication. This is the key to effective communication. Listening effectively is one’s ability to fully understand and interpret messages sent by the speaker. In Mark and Kate’s situation, there are listening barriers that prevent and make it difficult for them to fully understand one another. In Kate and Mark’s situation, and many other people’s situation, psychological barriers are the most common. Emotions became a distraction to listen what the speaker has to say. Just when Mark is calling her attention about doing the job right, Kate already started to put up her guard and defended herself.
Most people, including myself, get anxious when we hear criticisms about ourselves. There are many things that are already playing inside our mind about the situation. This makes it difficult to listen to what the other speaker has to say. We tend to be close-minded in situations like that. In addition, under the psychological barriers is the egocentrism. The book says, “your own ideas are more important or valuable that those of others.” Kate mentioned the situation about her ideas being shot down. She believes that her ideas or suggestions are not as important as the other members of the team. If we believe that our ideas and suggestions are not appreciated well like others, we tend to not listen anymore because we feel like whatever we do, it will not be treated the same as others.
On the other hand, Mark needs to carefully listen to what Kate has to say. Since he already listened to what the other members of the team said, he also needs to understand why Kate acts the way she is acting. I believe in Mark’s situation, an environmental barrier is present. I am not sure if the influence of other people is under this category. Mark became so focused about his own observations of Kate’s actions and what the team was saying about her. If he is only to focus on what he had observed and what other said, it will be a huge problem and understanding each other will be too difficult for them.
2. Consider the listening styles discussed in Chapter 3. Present evidence that indicates each person’s styles, and then describe how this knowledge might have created a different communication outcome for Kate and Mark. Kate is a critical listener. In this particular scenario, she became exaggeratedly overreactions on Mark’s message. If only Mark and Kate are relational and analytical listeners, a better situation and outcome of the meeting could’ve been in place. For example, if Kate is an analytical listener, she will be more concerned about fully understanding the message before making a judgment. She could’ve seen the situation like Mark must have been concerned about her and wants her to become better at the job. Instead of taking it in a bad way, she could’ve seen the feedback as a room for improvement on her performance. On the other hand, Kate could really be an analytical listener.
She might have just over analyzed the situation that worsens her interpretation of the information conveyed by Mark. Yet, if Kate become more professional about it, she should clarify the message she received with Mark instead of making her own conclusions and interpretations. This is one problem when we tend to just hear not listen. In addition, if Mark will be a relational listener, he will be nonjudgmental about what Kate was saying. He will be able to further help and understand her with the situation. He also must understand where Kate is coming from. Instead of firing her, he can offer her some support and resolve the issues arising within the team. The issue must not only be addressed just between Kate and Mark. It must be resolved together with the whole team. This is to eliminate any other future similar issues. They all need to listen not just hear so they can properly communicate. If they are effective listeners, ideas of each members of the team will be evaluated in the same importance as the others.