“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
So stated renowned financier, statesmen and political consultant Bernard Baruch as he commented on one of the most valuable characteristics of successful business leaders. As a manager, it’s your job to get results – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and moment by moment. The only way to make that happen is to balance those results with building and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships with your employees. And one of the single best tools for solidifying relationships is active listening.
Effective Forms of Listening
Leaders who listen are able to build trustworthy relationships that foster loyalty and commitment. Active listening goes beyond being quiet and giving someone your full attention, although that is the first step to success. By allowing others to talk and hear themselves think, you give them plenty of time and space to think more effectively and often, find solutions and answers themselves.
Listening is not the same thing as giving advice, doling out praise, placing blame, or agreeing or disagreeing with another person. It calls for restraint and self-control, waiting to step in and offer your opinion until you’re asked to do so. In essence, a good active listener is a human sounding board. Leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart are those who actively listen to them.
- Show that you care. People want to be led by those who have a genuine interest in who they are and what they represent. View and treat your employees as the valuable assets they are and recognize their unique capabilities and aptitudes – including those not directly related to their job functions. Your team members need a manager they can depend on in times of hardship, such as personal crises at home which may temporarily impact their performance.
- Be empathetic. Every individual handles stress and pressure differently. Express your concern and show employees that you feel their frustration. Gone are the days when we leave our emotions at the door upon arriving at work. It’s okay to express your sentiments; in fact, this reinforces your stature as a leader.
- Don’t be judgmental. Leaders who judge others are not listening. Instead, embrace new ideas and ideals. Remain constantly open to change and never become complacent.
- Be mindful. Actively listen beyond the obvious by using both verbal and nonverbal communication. Acknowledge others’ feelings and statements via your body language and facial expressions. Take note of what’s being said and tune into the related dynamics.
- Don’t interrupt. Embrace two-way communication and be aware that with every interruption comes disengagement. Gain respect by being a patient listener. Block out distractions and keep your focus on the person who’s speaking. Paraphrase what they tell you and repeat it back to them without parroting it, so they know you got the message.
The experts at CPS Recruitment® can assist as you drive business results and train your leadership team to do the same. Consider partnering with us as you build and strengthen your greatest resources: your people. Contact us at (315) 457-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn more.