Everyday I get emails that start with…“10 thing you should know to be an effective leader,” “The 5 critical keys to being a high engagement boss,” “The 2.2765 habits of successful leaders, webinar,” …OK that one’s a spoof…you get my point. I think as a manager you should make a point at being really good at 1……Listening. AND I MEAN REALLY GOOD!! We each have a unique way of communicating. Some of us are good listeners, some of us eloquent speakers. We communicate based on personal preferences for giving and receiving information.
“Listening involves hearing the speakers words, understanding the message and its importance to the speaker, and communicating that understanding to the speaker. The apparent problem is, of all the communication skills, listening is the earliest learned and the most frequently used, yet it seems to be the least mastered.” (quote from: Listening and Leadership)
The Art Of Listening Well, by Eugene Raudsepp nails it. “Listening is an art that requires work, self-discipline, and skill.” Boy is he right. Some people are naturally listening impaired (start thinking Charlie brown’s teacher). The focus of a conversation is the end game, the goal and so communication can be very direct; sometimes crossing the border into bluntness, because it’s about fact building and data sorting and not conversation.
Ask yourself this:
- Do I pay much attention to listening? Or am I thinking about what I want to say next.
- Do I ever “replay” conversations afterwards and think about whether or not I listened well?
- Is there a fair amount of, what is viewed as miscommunication, going on in my organization?
- What am I doing right now to sharpen my listening skills? Am I getting better at listening?