Good listening will make you a more effective Leader.
As leaders we all aspire to be emotionally intelligent. We seek to be authentic leaders with good interpersonal skills. Yet have you ever wondered ‘Is anybody listening to me?’. If you have… probably others in your workplace have felt the same.
Winston Churchill certainly could captivate an audience yet he said "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
Here are some classic signs of poor listening:
Asking ‘how are you today?’ without breaking our stride because we have no intention of engaging with the response.
Using the time in a meeting when someone is speaking to plan our next contribution or challenge to their proposal.
Finishing the final words of another person’s sentence rather than letting them express themselves.
Looking over a colleague’s shoulder while they are talking because we are watching for someone more interesting to speak to.
Glancing at our computer screen or iPhone while our direct report is laying off about an issue in their department. As Scott Peck rightly observed "You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time."
How does it make you feel when you are not being listened to?
Perhaps frustrated and undervalued like you don’t matter. That no one is really interested in you. That you are wasting your breath.
As a leadership coach I know being listened to can be very powerful. We feel understood, valued and supported. That what we have to say matters. That we matter!
Good listening communicates empathy, concern and fosters a strong team spirit. Just being listening too can calm powerful emotions and help clarify our thinking.
So good listening can make us a more effective leader and helps us build teams, motivate others and gain the respect of those around us. It strengthens our leadership presence.
As we listen to others they often begin to create their own solutions, take responsibility and move to action. We begin to empower our staff to rise up to their challenges.
Imagine if you really started to listen ...to the people you manage… to your colleagues… to your customers …
When we listen well we connect better with those around us, discover their real concerns, unlock creative ideas and develop new pathways into the future.
"To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words. You listen not only to the 'music,' but to the essence of the person speaking. You listen not only for what someone knows, but for what he or she is.” Peter Senge
4 Simple ways can we begin to listen better?
1. Be mindful and focus only on the person before you, giving them your full attention.
2. Be interested about the content by summarising with their words … ‘what you are saying is …’
3. Be curious and ask for more, even with a simple … ‘Tell me more about …’
4. Be connected and reflect back their own feelings … ‘you sound frustrated by that…’
Finally… can I listen to you?
I am offering a Free 90 minute Strategy Session and Report to Senior Leaders who are members of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce (until 31.10.16) Together we can explore vision, challenges, and what needs to change to achieve success. This will allow you to get a sense of what it might be like to be listened to, to work with me and how an Executive Coaching programme may be beneficial. Simply contact me.