People often tell their problems to me. I find it easy to understand them.

Those who value the Listening attribute are the type of people others often turn to in times of stress - when they just need someone to listen to them. Others come to these Listening espousers because their ease, and desire to listen to others shows clearly through their behaviours.

They love to learn about other people’s lives, to listen to their problems and to demonstrate empathy by helping people to feel heard and understood. Situations may trigger strong emotions in Listening espousers, such as crying for a friend who is going through a crisis.

They are open with their emotions and want to reflect that openness throughout the way they run their lives. They want to understand more about others – even those they disagree with. Only through deeper understanding of all people can they begin to understand any single person.

This approach to life is not just altruistic and giving – they are not necessarily selfless and all-forgiving paragons of virtue. They get tremendous returns from their listening skills and behaviours. They are among those who receive immense joy when they see others being happy – especially if it’s as a result of the attentive listening they provided. When others are successful they can empathise with them at a deep emotional level and feel the joy with them. At times like this their empathic tears will be of joy rather than pain.

Listening espousers are not likely to be hidden among their peer or affinity groups. They are more likely to be quite open and accessible to others. They are likely to be the one others feel safe with, and come to, even before the empathetic skills of these espousers come to them. That being said, they are just as likely to be the person in their group who feels others’ turmoil and come forward before those others even recognize their own distress.

Among their peers they are also likely to be the ones who “always look good”. They tend to care about the way they look, more so than many other people. Not for them the drab, neutral approach to life. They want their life in full technicolour, not sepia or black and white – not even pastel shades. “Doing good” makes them feel good and feeling good makes them want to show others how good they feel. This is life as a virtuous circle and not just dressing up to show off.

This combination of empathy and looking good typifies those espousing Listening. They can be a role model for many younger people, especially younger women, though not exclusively, as many men - especially younger men with a Pioneer values set - will be above average on the espousal of this life orientation.

As indicated by Deborah Tannen in “You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation”, women tend to have the kind of conversation that develops strong emotional connections and acts as the glue that holds relationships and communities together. So, it is not surprising that more young women than men value this attribute. Neither is it a surprise that older men, aged 55 upwards, espouse Listening about a quarter less frequently than men in general. It’s a generational thing – when they were brought up, “blokes” were supposed to do the telling and women were supposed to do the listening.


Using Listening

Demographic Skews:

1) Over-indexed: Female, 18-21.

2) Under-indexed: Male 65+.

Listening espousers also espouse other Attributes. The top five most highly correlated Attributes of Listening espousers are, in order of the strength of relationship:

1) Caring
2) Openness
3) Joyness
4) Looking good
5) Sensitive.

In total those who espouse Listening also over-index significantly on 35 other Attributes.

If "Listening" (or the associated attributes) are important to you and you would like to delve more deeply, contact us at