The image of the all-knowing commander is a pervasive meme within our society. Too often, the image of a CEO instructing a group that hangs on their every word is equated with the idea of successful leadership. While it is true that leaders require the ability to communicate effectively and be successfully decisive at key moments, it’s not the whole story.
Successful leaders take time to prepare, plan, and study. They are students and supporters of highly effective organizational systems, positive behavior, and workplace culture. But perhaps most importantly, they are extremely dedicated listeners.
The Benefits of Intentional Listening
For leaders, the act of listening is essential. Here are three ways leaders and organizations benefit from intentional listening:
1. Gain Valuable Insight
When you hear from members of your team and observe their thought processes, it’s an opportunity to build their capacity and gain invaluable insight.
2. Respond Immediately
Gathering input frequently on small things allows networks to respond effectively to immediate needs.
3. Make Quick Decisions
Evaluating information and gathering data by listening to your teams also ensures you can make quick decisions in crucial moments.
When listening, adhere to the practice of “framing the question” so that you receive specific, focused feedback rather than mounds of unneeded information you’ll have to sift through.
Leading Well Means Listening Carefully
If your goal is to compile perspectives that assist and challenge your thinking, you must encourage teams in an environment of authentic engagement. When it comes to the act and practice of listening, the manner in which it takes place and the sincerity of the engagement go a long way to reinforce the values of the leader and the team.
Here are a few ways you can listen more carefully.:
- Make the effort to be focused and present. Multi-tasking or staring at your phone while asking for thoughtful counsel is inconsiderate and ineffective. Even if the time of the interaction is only a few minutes, the quality of your eye contact and body posture sends an important message.
- Ask clarifying questions. This sends a message of engagement and seriousness.
- Acknowledge their points. Sincere acknowledgement adds to your evaluative capacity and will feel like authentic praise to those who contribute.
Listening as a leadership practice is an underrated skill that separates the modestly successfully from the truly impactful. Learn other ways to make a huge impact on your organization and your teams. Download our free resource: The Innovative Leader’s Guide to Transforming Company Culture…Starting with Yourself
Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.