While working as a power plant worker, poor listening skills almost caused a blistering death when one of my colleagues was informed not to use the elevator as the fire had broken up in the building. However, he did not listen and went ahead to use the elevator where he was burned to death. The shaft of the elevator busted. It almost killed some of us who were inside the underground floor close to the elevator door because the shaft dropped down at high speed and hit the ground very hard causing a lot of damages inside the underground floor. Luckily none of us in the building was injured.
What went wrong was that my fellow worker was in a hurry when the subcontractor informed us about the fire outbreak and the reason why we should not use the elevator. Since we were working as a group and we were expected to work on a task on the 5th floor that day, everyone was still waiting for the instructions. However, the worker moved out of the group and went ahead to use the elevator without asking for clarifications on why people are running out of the building using stare cases. This indicates that he did not listen and he never asked the subcontractor to repeat his message neither did he asked any of us.
Effective listening would have made a difference in this scenario, for example, if the worker had followed the instructions provided by the contractor of not using the elevator, then he would not have died. Following instructions indicates that an individual has a good listening skills (Bond, 2012).It is as if the worker did not understand all the instructions that were provided then he would have asked for clarification because asking for clarification is one factor that shows there is effective listening. Besides, it was also clear that the subcontractor was not an effective communicator in the sense that he would have made sure that all the members in our group are concentrating because what he was talking about was very important. In this case, the subcontractor might have noticed that there was no eye contact but failed to make the worker attentive. The effective communication, therefore, would have also facilitated good listening and thus caused a difference.
The worker was also not attentive and relaxed when the instructions were being provided. He seemed to be in a hurry because of some reasons that he never mentioned. Maybe he might have forgotten something in the building, or he might have been distracted by environmental factors. He also never noticed the body language of the contractor. If the worker would have been attentive, then he would have listened to the message, and thus he would not have used the elevator which caused his death. The worker also moved out of the group before the end of the announcement. Being attentive is one way to show that someone is listening to whatever message is being conveyed (Brownell, 2015).
Another thing that shows that he was not able to listen is that fact that he did not provide any feedback that indicates that the message from the contractor was not pleasing the same way most of the people in the group did. Feedback would not have been necessarily through asking a question about what was going and through giving suggestions of what should be done to stop the fire and to assist people who were close to that building.
Bond, C. D. (2012). An overview of best practices to teach listening skills. International Journal of Listening, 26(2), 61-63.
Brownell, J. (2015). Listening: Attitudes, Principles, and Skills (Subscription). Routledge.
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