Dillan DiGiovanni

coach | writer | speaker

Working Well: Workplace Wellness Initiative




In this session, we will explore:

  • five listening styles/types
  • effective and ineffective listening habits
  • the importance of listening in leadership positions
  • practicing effective and ineffective listening habits though a role-playing activity


In their book, Listening Styles (1995), Kraft and Kraft identified five uses of listening:

  1. Listening to bond
  2. Listening to appreciate
  3. Listening to learn
  4. Listening to decide
  5. Listening to enable

People often have the best intentions when they listen, but often aren't effective in the style they use. They may be using the wrong style according to the situation or individual. Pausing to listen and assess the best style needed at the moment makes for very effective listening.

Download this document outlining effective and ineffective listening habits.

Go through your day and pay close attention to the different people with whom you communicate. Take note, after the conversation, which listening style or type they seemed to be using when you spoke. You can also listen to other peoples' conversations and take notes on those, too.


Listening is very important, especially if you're in a leadership position.

It's said that Steve Jobs, the creator and founder of the APPLE company, wasn't the best listener for those with whom he worked. Perhaps it's true, perhaps it isn't, but we all know or have had someone in our lives who hasn't been the most effective listener.

Watch this video below and notice the interaction between Jobs and his colleague:



This role-playing exercise can be used between two people or a group. Practice it with other teams in your workplace or a friend. Choose one listening technique or style (both effective and ineffective) and practice acting those out with people. Notice how people respond when you use each method. Pay attention to their facial expressions and body language to assess how you're being perceived as a listener and speaker.

Using the LISTENING HABITS worksheet above, practice role playing effective and ineffective listening habits in different real-life scenarios. Switch places and take turns being the speaker and listener.