Listening is an important part of life. It’s even more important in design. Without listening you can’t have empathy with a user. Without empathy, you can’t understand a user’s pain points. And without understanding a user’s pain points, you can’t create a proper solution that works for them.

I think part of why we, in 2020, are as hostile as we are is simply due to a lack of listening. I attribute this partially to the internet and the age of instant information. People are so used to having everything at their fingertips that they won’t People will read headlines and go off of those without “listening” further into the article. This leads to in most cases a fundamental misunderstanding about what the article was about. That’s why I believe a lot of misinformation today is simply due to not listening fully – due to this more than anything.

In practice, this behavior manifests itself in more ways than just that though. In conversation, sometimes people will formulate a response in their head before fully listening to the person they’re talking to. Hell, even I’m guilty of that. Good leaders will listen to their team members and devote their attention to them. This way, the leader can understand their team, how they work, and what their pain points are. A leader’s job is to enable their team to do the best work they can, and that can’t happen if they aren’t listening to their team. Not just auditory listening but “listening” to other things – tone, demeanor, and other non-verbal cues. These can be great hints that can help you as a leader make better decisions.