Valuing Deep Listening - Insight from Gningala Yarran-Mark

08/03/2021 - 09:44
Gningala Yarran-Mark

On this International Women’s Day, I would like to share an insight provided by Gningala Yarran-Mark. Gningala is a current board member of the Water Corporation, with a keen focus on education and Aboriginal health governance.

I am privileged in the work we do at Red Emu Advisory, that on any given day, I am learning something new.

Perhaps through a conversation or experience with a former colleague, or through working with leaders at all levels, to explore and liberate their organisational potential through healthy leadership.

Gold is a hot commodity and so are the nuggets that come from those interactions.

A common thread we are hearing from many of the managers and leaders we have worked with over the past 12 months, is the challenge to perform and lead through these new, completely unchartered waters. There is constant movement, relentless demands and pressures. It is impacting traditional ways of working and also our homes.

When we spoke with Gningala as part of our Red Emu Advisory ‘Real Life. Real Leadership’ interview series, Gningala shared with us the concept of dadirri.

When asked if there was any advice that would have been helpful in the early days of her career, Gningala explained that she has now arrived in a space where she appreciates and values the importance of deep listening.

In the Aboriginal world, dadirri is the word given to deep listening. It comes from the Ngan’gikurunggurr and Ngen’giwumirri languages from the Daly River region, 220 kilometers south of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.

“Dadirri is listening for understanding and clarities sake. For ourselves and those listening to us,” she said.

"Quite often we listen to reply, as opposed to listening to the fullness of the story or conversation from those relaying the story or information. Dadirri comes from a place of RESPECT, both for self and to the storyteller."

With people working in new ways these days, and increasingly remotely, deep listening in both directions is increasingly important.

“Finding stillness in the chaos is no mean feat. In the stillness and silence is your chance to pause, reflect and focus your energies,” Gningala explained.

“In organisations, human capital is the most vital ingredient. I have found deep listening to have a profound impact on how people respond in the moment.”

“It is the most profound lesson and [it has] increased my interpersonal relationships exponentially,” she said.

Conversations are buzzing with talk of defining purpose, developing and implementing strategy, change, transformation.

I wonder, how successful will those efforts and investments be if we don’t first take the time to truly listen and understand the perceptions, lived experiences or mindsets of those at the other end of the conversation or change?

There are many ways to do this and it doesn’t start or finish with the employees of a business. What are your customers and suppliers saying or not saying? What is being said and heard at home?

Gningala’s insight will continue to influence my thinking and now I pass it on.

You can read Gningala’s full ‘Real Life. Real Leadership’ interview on the Red Emu Advisory website and LinkedIn.

Jodie Williams

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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