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Just Listen
By Bryan Avila, TDCJ Correctional Training Instructor - Sergeant of Correctional Officers
Published: 12/17/2012

Tin can communication It is no wonder why so many people have the attention span of a mite. Everything has to be right here, right now. And who are we to blame for this? We are. We have become a society of instant gratification. We want it all RIGHT NOW and when we don’t get it the way that we want, when we want it and however we want it we get our undies all bundled up and make our own conclusions. This is especially true when we want information. We think that we can multitask but in reality, we suck at it.

We start to hear what one person is saying and the next thing that we know is that we are coming to our own conclusions on what is being said. The art of communication is almost dead. We are constantly assuming that we know what is going on but we really don’t know our own head from a hole in the ground. Does everything need to be right now? How about a little patience? For crying out loud, take a chill pill and relax!

Yes, I DO have my undies in a bunch right now! So what brought this on? OK, deep breath……..1……..2……..3………4………..5……….6……..7………8…….9………………………………….10.

I’m out working in the business that I own and next to me is this woman who every week is constantly yelling at her teenage daughter (about 17) and grown up son (19?). She asks them a question and as soon as they start to answer her, she flies off the deep end, interrupts, and makes an ass out of herself (constantly assuming what they are going to say). Now, I have been behaving and not said anything but I am starting to believe that I am a vampire due to all the blood I keep sucking down from biting my tongue. That woman just needs to be bitch slapped once………maybe 10 times.

But it got me thinking about an increasing trend that I see taking place in corrections as a result of today’s society and the new supervisors that are emerging. The same mentality has been creeping its ugly head into the supervision field. There are many great supervisors out there that take the time to listen to what people have to say.

There are others, however, that will do exactly what this basket case for a woman does: jump to conclusions, run their mouth and when you mention junk in the trunk, they yell out “I have the landfill in there!” That’s how much of an ass they make themselves out to be. We have to have the ability to take pause, listen (not hear, BIG difference), understand the message that someone is trying to convey to us and then make an informed decision based on ALL the information (not ALL the SPECULATION of what you thought they were going to say).

If you want to talk about effective leadership, we can do that all day long. Unfortunately some so called leaders can get out of their own way because they love hearing themselves talk. Then again, some of us do the same thing as well.

I want you to stop and think about any and all times in which you may have interrupted someone and made an assumption. Is it something that you need to work on? Only you know you the answer to that. You know what is effective for you and what is not. If you are in a supervisory role, you really need to take a look at yourself and do a self-evaluation. Ask others for their opinion. They will see things that you can’t. And no matter what, do not get defensive if you ask and they answer.

Since my boxers are not thongs, I better go get them untangled.

Editor's note: Corrections.com author Bryan Avila started working as a Police Officer in 1994 while attending Norwich University in Northfield, VT. In 1999 he began working for the Vermont Dept of Corrections while still working as a Part-Time Police Officer. In 2007 he left public service until 2009 when he began working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is currently a Correctional Training Instructor- Sergeant of Correctional Officers, at the TDCJ Region I Training Academy located in Huntsville, TX.

Other articles by Avila:


  1. hamiltonlindley on 03/19/2020:

    Hamilton loves books about unicorns, storms, and cubicles. He lives in Waco with his cat named Mr. Bojangles. Before his work as an attorney, Hamilton was a leprechaun chaser. His all-time record is three pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. He was forced to give up the gold in a dispute with a rival hobbit. He spends his free time tripping out on the smallest details, none of which are important He likes doing the things with the ball and scoring the points. He pays attention to the green of your eyes, even when it is not Saint Patrick’s Day. He is not Irish. Hamilton Lindley has fun plans for people in need. Whether your need a dreamcatcher for your dreams or a tape dispenser to put your life back together, he can be there for you to yell at. There are times when it is surprising that he has any friends at all. But thankfully he does have a few. He drives a Dodge Stratus. People respect him, except at home.

  2. stephanelombo on 12/18/2012:

    I agree that to HEAR and to LISTEN are two different thing.You can hear what somebody has said to you but it does not necessary mean you fully grasped what you have just heard or carefully heard each and every words. The difference between the two words Listen and Hear are obvious: When you carefully LISTEN to each and every words, regardless of our MINDSET,and carefully weight each and every word to avoid jumping into conclusions.We then take the right and the appropriate course of action in reguards of what we have just listen to. Mr.Stephane luako Lombo Kinshasa DRCONGO

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