This month I’ve been writing about self-awareness and the importance of assessing your own performance for 2019. Something that repeatedly comes up for my coaching clients as a critical leader competency is active listening. With many workplace distractions and demands on your time, taking time to really listen to your team members often suffers. With so much emphasis on performance and output, many leaders have trouble being present and truly listening.
Let's look at this important next step in self-awareness and self-assessment. How often do you...
- Sit behind my desk and look at my computer or check email?
- Have a hard time concentrating on what is being said?
- Think about what you want to say after the other person finishes speaking?
- Interrupt or show impatience?
- Give advice or finish someone’s sentences?
- Assume someone’s point of view rather than ask for clarification?
- Fill empty space by talking?
Research shows that listening involves more than just being quiet when someone is speaking. And the benefit for you is that active listening helps you earn the trust of others and better understand the needs of your employees. Can you see how this will help you in this busy crunch time?
How to develop an active listening mindset:
- Pay attention to your own behavior and the behavior of the other person
- Pause to hear the information being shared and seek to understand
- Reflect what you heard said to you, and ask for clarification if needed
- Summarize what you have heard and share your thoughts
Active listening also includes paying attention to the nonverbal cues being given to you. As you know, there’s a big difference in conversing with someone who looks you in the eyes versus someone that’s scrolling through their phone. Maintaining eye contact is a simple place to start.
When tasks are mounting and budgets are dwindling, it’s hard to pay attention to everything around you. Do you or someone on your team need help with active listening? Let me share the tips that work for my clients. Let’s connect to discuss solutions that work for you!