What sets leaders apart is not so much their role or authority, their gender, size or affiliation, but rather it’s how they make others feel and what kind of measurable results are produced. And listening is key to ensuring that the other party feels good and that the intended results are delivered. It therefore follows that being a better listener will make you a more effective leader, no matter what your role is and where you intend to go. Below are some strategies to help you listen better, deeper and more effectively.
- Be more interested in what they are saying than what you’d like to communicate.
- Consider how the background and motivations of others impact what is said.
- Ponder not just what is said, but what is meant.
- When in doubt, ask if you are reading the communication and the intention accurately.
- Factor in how tone of voice and body language impact the message conveyed.
- Encourage others to continue the conversation, going deeper and broader into a wider range of topics. The deeper you listen, the deeper the relationship can become.
- Listening is even more critical when emotions run high. Listen closely for the direct and implied communication if emotions do run high.
- Making the other person feel heard helps keep heated conversations manageable.
- Assume positive intent in any communication, unless you know otherwise.
- Commit to being present in every interaction, being engaged in every relationship.
You will find that you already do some of the above, and also that you have other suggestions for becoming a better listener. But I think that you commit to listening better, you will also be better heard. Enjoy the journey.