“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” -Bernard Baruch
When you think of a leader, you usually imagine a person who is taking control of situations, rolling up their sleeves and making tough decisions, is acting as the last line of defense, and more times than not, talking.
While this is true (and not necessarily a bad thing), an overlooked quality of a strong leader is that he/she is a good listener.
This person understands that no matter what stage of their career, there are always opportunities for growth and education.
Why is listening important for leaders?
“Half of knowledge is knowing where to find it.”
It’s no revelation that your employees want their voices to be heard and as a leader, taking the time to ask questions and then to the answers will help you uncover valuable information to better your company as a whole.
Growth-oriented leaders realize there’s a difference between just hearing what your employees have to say and actively listening to their concerns, comments, suggestions, feedback, etc. and taking the necessary steps to put what you’ve learned into action.
So, how do you strengthen your listening abilities? Here are three ways to get started:
Three Tips to Become a Better Listener
Deploying empathy will help you become a better communicator.
By putting yourself in the shoes of your employees and listening to their feedback, you’ll have a better grasp on what makes them tick, their strengths/weaknesses, and the kind of communication they need to be happy and productive.
Create a collaborative environment
As leaders, we need to constantly move out of our comfort zones by asking open ended questions rather than moving 100 miles per hour and forgetting to stop, ask and listen to team members.the “my way or the highway” mentality doesn’t get you far.
I’ve always believed in the power of creating a workplace where employees aren’t afraid to come to the leader with questions, suggestions, or problems.
Empower your employees
A large part of my job is effectively managing my team so that we’re all on the same page, working towards the same goals.
Part of this equation is realizing that all of my employees have individual skill sets that make them uniquely valuable. And they each have their own unique way of communicating and processing information. When I forget that, it leads to communication breakdowns that hamper productivity.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership and part of being a leader lies in your ability to be malleable in dealing with the ebbs and flows of your business.
I believe that empowering your employees is such an important aspect of the job description of a leader because when you listen to what they have to say, encourage them to do their best, and push them to achieve more, you’ll bring out their optimal performance day after day.
I’m challenging you today to take the time to look up from your busy days, engage with your employees, and be present more today than yesterday and even more than that tomorrow.