Have Your Listening Ears On

I had the privilege of chairing the preschool in my small rural town before our school district in the years before our school district was able to launch their pre-K program. Over the course of those years, I would occasionally be in the classroom during school hours and have the opportunity to hear Ms. Julie talking with the children. It was where I first remember hearing “have your listening ears on.” I didn’t remember it from my childhood and I hadn’t used that phrase with my own children yet.


Fast forward to now and when I was recently talking with colleague Dominick Bruno about his experience learning Scrum and working with teams at various points along the way in their Agile journey, I was taken back to this phrase to “have your listening ears on.” In our conversation, which you can watch here


The work of a Scrum Master in particular requires strong facilitation skills. Those skills include listening skills. Listening for impediments as the team discusses their current and future work. Listening for potential Kaizen ideas (a change for the better) during the team’s Sprint Retrospective. Yet this is a skill that I believe needs to be learned, actually, more likely, relearned for many of us. We likely learned about “having our listening ears on” back in school, but as adults, may not have continued to have reminders about how important that skills is for us. If you’re going to serve as a Scrum Master, consider this your gentle reminder 🙂


But don’t just take my word for it, you can watch the full conversation with Dominick here and hear what he has to say about listening to get meaningful feedback as well.


What ways do you make sure to have your listening ears on? Or encourage your team members to do so? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments below.


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