Can Listening Make You a Better Leader?
Can Listening Make You a Better Leader?
Many people are more accustomed to speaking rather than listening. The traditional image of leadership likely to conjure up dynamic activities such as expressing strong opinions and taking decisive actions.
However, it is equally important to know when to listen properly. In our experience, many leaders struggle with the concept of active listening. If you’re ready to listen, read on. We’ll tell you more about how you can develop this skill and become a better leader.
Work on Becoming a Better Leader
Our ability to listen effectively is often impaired by our own internal dialogues, assumptions and agendas. Despite what we may believe, just like expressing strong opinions and taking decisive actions, listening is an active process that involves focusing on what is being said whilst simultaneously bracketing our own intrusive thoughts and distractions. Those leaders who apply genuine listening skills are far more likely to generate a thriving organisation.
Most of us know first-hand that employees will often ‘go the extra mile’ when they feel led by those who genuinely appear to care about who they are and what they represent to the broader team or organisation. Employees are more than just deployable resources. Many leaders lose sight of the fact that each employee is a valuable asset who embodies a range of unique capabilities and aptitudes outside of their immediate job function. When we fail to apply active listening skills with our people (or even inadvertently close the conversation down by interrupting or distractedly playing with our mobile phone!), we lose a fantastic opportunity to understand them more fully and to demonstrate appreciation and empathy for them as individuals.
Moreover, we risk jeopardising the future progress of the organisation by failing to allow the full expression of diversity. Innovation is generally promoted by listening. When a leader is too directive or quick to react, the organisation misses out on any improvements or solutions that another individual might discover by applying their unique background to the situation.
Become a Better Leader
Leaders who judge others too quickly are extremely unlikely to be applying active listening skills! Being decisive can also easily lend itself to making snap judgements and rejecting different styles or approaches to a situation. Leaders who are effective listeners validate and ask clarifying questions – they do not make assumptions, but use the interaction as an opportunity to learn. Conversely, when we judge, we tend to limit innovation and de-motivate employees by reducing feelings of responsibility, control and importance. Active listening requires a far greater degree of time and patience than traditional forms of leadership, but it also opens us to new ways of looking at the world and others. In doing so, it makes us far more approachable, inspires more honest conversations and promotes an enhanced level of personal and professional growth in both ourselves and others
Great leaders are not just hearing conversations; they are listening to them and engaging in the dialogue in a manner which ultimately strengthens working relationships and creates a virtuous circle for all concerned. These leaders are profoundly present in the moment and acutely aware of verbal and non-verbal communication. Consequently, they are consistently tuned in to the dynamics that are taking place around them; meaning that they can more effectively inspire professional development and overall performance.
It is estimated that within an average working day, we spend about 45% of our time listening but only have an actual comprehension rate of 25%. Moreover, less than 3% of all professionals have undertaken any type of formal training in these skills and techniques. Surely, given the inherent importance of good active listening skills, this is a prime opportunity which is being missed?
Active Listening Leads to Charisma
As we discussed in a previous newsletter (which you can read here if you missed it) charisma is an almost magnetic presence which can help to influence and persuade people to your cause. Active listening helps you to develop your charisma by learning how to be fully-engaged with the people you meet.
We will cover active listening and many other techniques for developing your charisma in our next Charisma Masterclass, on Monday 20th February 2017. This full day, interactive workshop is one of the UK’s top personal effectiveness training, helping you get to the top of your game – and stay there.
On this Masterclass, you’ll learn how to:
- Convey the right message through skillful communication
- Manage your feelings to be confident in any situation
- Adapt your body language to be charismatic
- Understand how to be approachable and trusted
- Be mindful – present in the here and now.
To join on this amazing Masterclass, click here to watch our short video and book online, or call us now on 020 7060 4375.
As the founder of Pinnacle Therapy, Richard is absolutely dedicated to equipping his clients to lead the best lives possible.
Pinnacle offers high quality and results-focused therapeutic, consulting and training psychological services to organisations throughout the UK, delivered by a fully qualified and highly experienced team, lead and motivated by Richard.
Contact him on 020 7060 4375 or at email@example.com.