One key characteristic a leader must have is the ability to listen to others. This is especially important in dealing with organizational conflicts and listening to criticism from others. To be an effective listener, we must understand that there are more things to look for in a conversation besides just the spoken words. Below are what I believe to be the four most important tips to keep in mind in order to listen effectively:
Put 100% focus on the other person.
Although this sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done. We get distracted too easily sometimes (texting while others are talking to us, thinking about other things on our minds, etc.) that we don’t always put the necessary focus on the other person that it hinders our ability to gather sufficient information to make decisions. To put 100% focus on the other person means we need to focus all our efforts on the other person when they talk to us.
Read between the lines.
Oftentimes we may say one thing, but actually mean something else. One important trait to be an effective listener is the ability to gather information. In this case, we do not only listen to a person’s spoken words, but also determine if there are any underlying meanings behind what they are saying. This is especially important for people who lead a diverse group, as different cultures and personalities will yield different styles of communication. While some people’s words may be taken at face value, others’ might require some extra analyzing.
Pay attention to body language.
This makes up for a huge part in conveying a message. A person’s body language can tell you how interested they might be in a certain subject and what kind of emotions they may be feeling when they are talking to you. It’s important to make sure that we pay attention to the person’s facial expressions, as well as body posture when they are talking to us. I believe that effective listeners listen not only with their ears, but also their eyes.
Ask questions accordingly.
Based on the information you gather from their spoken words underlying meanings and body languages, you can now think of questions you can ask the other person in order to get a better understanding of their viewpoints. By doing this, you don’t only get a deeper understanding of where they’re coming from, but you also show them that you were actively listening to what they were saying and you that you are someone who cares about them. You’ll gain more respect as a leader this way.
Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.