"Listening is an often overlooked leadership skill."
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Written by Amy Fowler
Good leaders have many qualities - they're decisive, good at managing their time, and good at talking to clients and team members.
They're also good listeners.
Listening is an often overlooked leadership skill.
It's common for people to get so tied up in worrying about saying and doing the right things that they don't ever get around to just stopping and listening.
Why Listening Can Help You
Developing your listening skills is just as an important part of leadership development as developing your thinking and speaking skills.
When you know how to listen well, and actually understand what people are saying to you, you can prevent a lot of undesirable outcomes, for example:
- Poor team morale - if your employees feel ignored, they'll hate working for you. Prove that you're listening, and your team will celebrate good news, and be more willing to work with you when things are bad.
- Lawsuits - poor listening skills can lead to harassment claims and malpractice suits. If you talk to, and listen to, people that you deal with on a day to day basis, you can prevent misunderstandings from happening and will have a better chance of resolving them if they do occur.
- Lack of communication - if people try to talk to you a couple of times, and feel that they're just being dismissed or ignored, it won't be long before they decide to stop speaking. Learning to listen will ensure that the lines of communication stay open.
Develop Listening Skills with Executive Coaching
Some people are naturally good listeners, but those people are few and far between.
Most people could benefit from a master in organizational leadership development course to hone their communication skills. Spending a little time on executive coaching will help you to communicate more effectively.
The basic rules for listening are:
- Minimize distractions - don't try to do several things at once - if you're talking to someone, talk to them. That email or text message can wait.
- Keep an open mind - even if you disagree, keep listening until the person has finished speaking. Try to understand their position, even if you can't bring yourself to agree with it.
- Reframe the message - don't just assume you've understood what the person was saying. Take a moment to repeat what they've said in your own works and make sure you've got the correct idea from the message.
Learning to listen is the first step on the road to being a good communicator.
You can't communicate well with people until you understand where they're coming from, and that's the information that good listening will provide.
You should apply your listening skills to every communication - whether it's with the purchasing manager of an important client, or the guy that delivers your stationery order each week.
Everyone's ideas and opinions are important, and treating people with respect should be a matter of course.
The way you treat people says a lot about you and your company.
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