How do you become an active listener?
Active listening is one of the most important skills you need to learn as a leader. It can help build stronger relationships, increase workplace effectiveness, and help you learn more about what you can be doing to improve. To become an active listener, you need to engage with what you’re hearing and make a conscious effort to become a better communicator.
What is an active listener?
Active listening is listening to obtain information, better understand something, and make the person you’re communicating with feel heard. This is different from passive listening, which usually involves talking over someone, neglecting their input, and not making an effort to find a deeper meaning behind what was said.
You cannot be an active leader without being a good active listener. Active listeners make the best communicators, influencers, negotiators, and conflict mediators—all things essential for running a workplace to its maximum potential.
Tips for becoming a better active leader
Don’t interrupt. An essential aspect of active listening is making sure the other person feels heard. It’s not only polite, but it’s also a way to reduce unnecessary repetition and helps guide the flow of your conversation in a more productive way.
Stop thinking about what you will say next. You might think this makes you sound like a better talker, but it doesn’t. People are adept at telling if someone is really listening or just waiting their turn to speak.
Ask questions. Asking questions tells the person you’re communicating with that you are listening and engaging with them on a deeper level. It also helps clarify misunderstandings you might have instead of brushing over them, doing a major disservice to both of you.
Face the person your talking to. It’s easy to speak with your head buried in your computer on a busy day, but you should never do it. The nonverbal cues given with facial expression, body language, and eye contact are essential pieces of communication and without them, people may feel ignored.
Why active listeners make the best leaders
Active listeners make the best leaders because many aspects of leadership rely on your ability to communicate. Active listening builds trust, clarity, deeper relationships, and it helps to engage your team with the tasks at hand.
Because leaders rely so heavily on their interpersonal skills, it’s impossible to lead well without first becoming an active listener. The quality of your communication both in and out of your team has drastic impacts on what people are willing to do for you.
Remember that leading is a group effort and active listening is the glue that holds your group together.
Do you want to become a better leader?
Cain consulting can help you become an active listener and better leader. We can help you to become a better active listener to help build trust in your team and to help you guide them towards reaching their full potential as a group. Give us a call or email us online to see what we can do for you.