Are You Listening?
Three Steps to Listen Like a Leader
Step One: Get People Talking
Passive listeners wait until spoken to or begin conversations by expressing their personal point of view. In contrast, active listeners know that everyone has something to teach them, so they go after it through questions and interviews. Learn to ask questions that get people talking about the topics they know best.
Once you get someone talking, ask yourself: what is this person really trying to tell me?, how can I help her or him explain the significance of what they are saying?, and how can I help them articulate what they mean so I can better understand and appreciate their viewpoint? With your eyes locked on the speaker, encourage people to talk by asking probing questions that seek clarification and detail.
Leadership listening requires actively accepting the speakers' remarks rather than making reactive judgments. Some call this keeping an open mind. Speakers are far less prone to provide people with information if they believe the person is constantly judging them. When speakers feel the listener truly seeks to understand and accept, they are more inclined to honestly share their thoughts and feelings. Consider the advantage of a leader who fully understands the needs, perspectives and experiences of those they lead over the leader who simply seeks to press their opinion upon their subordinates.