Active Listening Advances Your Leadership Skills - Are You a Good Listener?
According to a recent poll by Harvard Business Review, 91 percent of employees cited “communication issues” as a pain point with their bosses. And “not having time to meet with employees” was cited by 52 percent responding as an issue that interfered with effective leadership.
So, what is at the crux of these two findings? In my experience, leaders “shut down” opportunities for open forum discussions or opportunities for employees to provide their perspective on things. This is incredibly unfortunate for all involved for a variety of reasons. Why?
By not listening, leaders “constrict” their own success. It is a leader’s responsibility first and foremost to set the tone of the employer/employee relationship. By actively listening, understanding, and taking into consideration what your employee shares, you create a positive workplace culture of respect and trust which leads to building influence and shows transparency.
Be a better leader with these steps to active listening:
1) Be present and genuinely show interest. Be intentional about giving the speaker opportunity to express their thoughts without interruption (including someone else talking, checking phones etc.). Show positive body language like a nod or smile to show your interest. 2) Repeat what you heard. When the speaker has finished their statements, repeat back what you understood them to say. This allows for any opportunity of misunderstanding to be made clear.
3) Validate. Let the individual know you appreciate their comments and input. This is a KEY step in active listening. Without this, this exercise is futile.
4) Respond accordingly. You may or may not agree with what was shared. Either way you can formulate a response that is respectful and indicates the desire to create a safe environment where one can share honestly and openly in the future.
When you listen, you gain knowledge that can enhance your own expertise and perspective allowing you to be more effective in your decision-making and expanding your emotional intelligence.