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Active Listening Makes Good Leaders

Active Listening

There is a lot of talk in leadership theory now about conventional or hard leadership skills vs the modern demand for soft skills. Traditional skills include the ability to sell, calculate and understand numbers, writing, speaking, and marketing. While all of these skills are indeed useful, they may either not address leadership ability or they serve very specific purposes that don’t always require upfront interaction with people. Soft leadership skills, such as active listening, have a lot to do with relational dealings within our company, which can include co-workers as well as clients.

Active Listening Facts

  • Definition of the leadership skill: Active Listening – The ability for a leader to put everything else aside and listen to a peer or subordinate in such a way that they are reasonably sure of the leader’s attention and care. This is done without the leader’s attempts to solve their problem or assume any conclusions.
  • Active Listening is #1  – Many business consultants and corporate executives name active listening as their most important leadership skill.
  • When a leader shows impatience in listening to an employee speak, it sends a message of a lack of interest or care. Slowing down to really hear what they are saying is critical to convincing the speaker that what they say matters more than everything else for that moment.
  • It can be planned – You won’t always be able to take sufficient time to intently listen to every person every single day, however, scheduling a listening session with a few new people each week at designated times can quickly make progress in developing patience and skill in listening.
  • Listening allows learning – Think about what you can learn about your employees or customers when you are the one talking. Outside of noting their reactions, virtually nothing. Being the only one talking doesn’t allow the leader to learn anything new about the other person or their perspective. 
  • Listening adds context to relationships – In this age of emails, posts, and texts,  comments communications are transmitted in a faceless, toneless, dark, digital format where the reader is free to create whatever mental tone they think of when reading your comments. Taking your original words out of context can change the intended meaning of your communication. Listening forces a face-to-face interaction and avoids further misunderstandings.
  • What makes Active listening so important to leaders? – Leadership can be defined as having influence among the people we live and work with. Active listening only increases our influence among those around us who feel heard by us. From there, trust, loyalty and shared vision can grow. Imagine the value of trust, influence, and relationship with your employees and clients.
Posted on October 16th, 2019 by Client Advocate Team

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