Learning to listen isn’t always easy. However, in leadership, listening is more important than talking. Often, it’s not what you say, it’s what you hear that will make the difference. Too many people in leadership roles spend time on what they’re going to say, but little on improving listening skills. When teammates are allowed to talk, they will share their needs, wants, and desires. They will often share the best way to manage them. Most people, including your team members, would rather talk than listen. As a leader you need to be the best listener you can be.
Learning to Listen
How to Improve Listening Skills
Listen actively by concentrating on the speaker with the sole purpose of understanding what they’re saying.
Don’t interrupt and don’t assume you know what the speaker is going to say — you don’t.
Keep an open mind and don’t stereotype, prejudge, or assume you know the content before listening. Come to the conversation with an open mind and a positive attitude.
Limit distractions by giving your full attention to the speaker; turn off your phone and meet in a quiet space. Taking notes may help.
Stop thinking about what you want to say. If you are “waiting” for the speaker to stop so you can get your point across, you’re not listening. Focus on the speaker.
Clarify your understanding by repeating what you heard such as, “If I understand what you said it was…”
Don’t take a stance. Listening is not about agreeing or disagreeing; it’s about understanding what is being said.
For too long I told myself and others I wasn’t a good listener. It was a mistake because I excused myself from becoming a better listener. More and more I understand the importance of listening skills and continue to seek improvement. It’s just not natural for me, but that’s no excuse for not improving my skills. Are you a good listener?
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
Does your business have a management training plan? Businesses and universities use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.