Leadership and the ability to connect with your people are essential. One way a leader connects with their people is by taking the time to listen to them, which requires one to stop talking. I have observed many leaders and managers fail at connecting with others because they have not learned or applied this critical aspect of communication. This is a communication mistake every leader needs to avoid. The challenge comes because leaders often are required to spend a lot of time talking. So taking the time to stop talking to pay attention to the other person is often overlooked. Abraham Lincoln said these practical words:
“When I’m getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say – and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.”
Being intentional about a balance between talking and listening is important. The best balance would be to spend more time listening than talking. I have been around leaders who know the importance of listening and other who fail to realize the importance of this communication skill.
When a leader applies the skill of listening, the person or people start feeling listen to and understood. This causes them to begin to share their ideas and thoughts, and feel cared for as well as valued. When this begins to happen the followers begin to be more creative, united, motivated, and committed to the leader and organization. To help become better leaders who talk less and listen more here are four steps to improve our listening skills:
1.” Listen to clarify.”
2. “Listen to check the meaning and interpretation of others.”
3. “Listen to show understanding.”
4. “Listen to get feedback.” ~
Questions: How important do you think it is for a leader to talk less and listen more? Can you add to the list of ways to improve your listening skills?