This month’s blog series is about the "secret sauce " or key competencies to enable leader success during COVID 19. One critical competency for leadership success that repeatedly comes up with my coaching clients is active listening. With your work demanding more of you as a leader, especially now having to lead your team remotely, somehow the art of active listening may be suffering. With so much emphasis on performance and output during a crisis, many leaders find their ability to be quiet and listen is hampered. Research shows that leaders believe they listen as much as they talk, when in reality they are doing 80% of the talking in their interactions with others. So, getting the "message out" is more important than ensuring you accurately receive the messages of your team members.
ASSESS your own listening skills:
When listening to others are you…
1. Sitting behind my desk and accepting phone calls or working on the computer?
2. Having a hard time concentrating on what is being said?
3. Getting annoyed when someone slows me down?
4. Thinking about what I need to say, rather than what the person is saying?
5. Interrupting and showing signs of impatience?
6. Giving advice rather than having them make recommendations to you?
7. Not asking questions that would encourage the other person to talk more?
TIPS to enable Active Listening:
So how did you do with these questions from the book, Active Listening? Here are a few quick tips for you to develop an active listening habit: pay attention to your own behavior and the behavior of the other person, hold your thoughts on the information being shared and seek to understand, reflect what you heard said to you, lastly ask clarifying questions, summarize what you have heard and share your thoughts with your employee. Active listening also includes paying attention to the nonverbal cues being given to you. Sounds simple, right? Trust me, I know it’s not!
Active listening requires you to be in the moment with yourself and the person you are speaking with. It takes discipline and practice to master so your employees truly feel heard and understood by you. If you need some help with this vital leadership competency, please schedule a call with me!