imagesThere appears to be a lot of well meaning advice on how to train someone who doesn’t listen to you to actually listen. Unfortunately, the advice is all very formulaic and I’m not sure it will work.

Having had this problem in the past, I have some degree of experience and frustration on the subject. The problem is that when you try to train someone to listen, you are trying to change their behaviour and that is a hugely complex task.

I first tried all the standard ways of getting them to listen like yelling at them, brow-beating them and stomping my feet but that just turns people off.

I have tried giving people a structured memo pad to write things down on. (I really loved the memo pad but almost no one else did and they resisted using it.)

I have tried getting employees to write down what we agreed on and send it back to me in an email. That too was pretty much a failure as who has the patience to police that type of action?

What I finally decided was that I had to marginalize and eventually get rid of people who don’t listen. You just can’t spend the time necessary to teach them.

Either people are learners who can see a problem and work to improve themselves or they aren’t. If someone is a learner, they’ll figure out what to do if you just tell them what they need to learn.

If they aren’t a learner, there is nothing you can do about it. So give up and get rid of them.