|Listen With Intent to Strengthen Leadership Skills|
Strong listening skills are essential to your success as a leader, but you can’t just nod your head in assent when employees and customers are speaking. You must always listen with a purpose so both parties learn something from every conversation. Here are some tips:
- Study your own listening style and habits. Discover when you’re most likely to actively listen. Is it the morning? The end of the day? Are your listening skills better walking through the workplace or in an office with the doors closed? Everyone has their own habits, strengths and gaps. Be aware of yours and play to your strengths.
- Engage in active listening. Your brain can think faster than anyone can talk. As such, your mind can easily wander while you’re supposed to be listening. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to give your brain something to do: evaluate information, obtain knowledge, understand the person better, etc. Enter into conversations with a specific goal, and then put your brain to work achieving that goal. In other words: Make your brain too busy to wander.
- Offer continuous feedback. Don’t wait until the conversation is finished to respond to what you’ve heard. When your employee makes a key point, jump in and restate the point to make sure you understand it. Then offer your feedback right then and there. After that, move to the next point. This will keep you involved in the entire conversation and elicit better results from each meeting.
—Adapted from Communication Solutions April 2016 newsletter, www.communicationbriefings.com.