It’s no secret that leaders need to be good listeners. After all, if you can’t listen to your employees, clients, or constituents, how can you effectively lead them? However, many leaders struggle with listening. In fact, a study by the Harvard Business Review found that only 37 percent of employees thought their leaders were effective listeners.
So, what can leaders do to improve their listening skills?
There are three steps for improving your listening skills – preparation, observation, and reflection.
Before you go into your conversation, check your biases and prepare to listen to the other person without judgment. This will allow you to be more receptive to what they are trying to communicate with you, and leave less room for interpretations that might lead to a negative outcome.
Additionally, be observant! It can be so easy to get caught up in what the other person is saying, but what they are doing may provide unspoken meaning or underlying context to what the other person is saying that you risk missing out on if you are not observant.
Studies have shown that 70 to 93 percent of human communication is nonverbal – so, as you have your conversation, observe the other person’s body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. When you really pay attention to “how” someone is communicating, you learn a lot!
As a leader, it’s important to be reflective. That means taking the time to think about what you’ve heard and seen, and how you want to use that information. It’s not enough just to listen to what other people say; you need to be able to process that information and figure out what it means for you and your people. Once you have taken the time to reflect on this, you can act accordingly.
Leaders, are you listening? According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, leaders who listen well make more money and have happier employees. It’s no secret that good communication is key to a successful organization, but what is less obvious is that to be good listeners. In order to become better listeners, you must prepare for the conversation, observe the person you are talking with and reflect on what they have said.
Are you ready to start improving your leadership skills with some simple changes? Modig can help! We offer training programs on effective communication and leadership development, so give us a call today and let us help you take your business to the next level. Listening isn’t always easy- it takes practice- but it’s worth it!
Brenda Lee is a Leadership Development and Team Building expert to some of the world’s most exciting entrepreneurs and professionals who have all the trappings of success but have hit a barrier they are ready to breakthrough.