Have you been in a situation where you realised that you were mentally forming answers to someone’s questions even before they had completed the question? And then found that your response was way off the mark.
One of the discussions that lingered in my mind during the Leadership Offsite was the importance of active listening. I believe the first step to becoming an effective leader is hearing out people. Many of us are in a hurry either to prove a point, display our intelligence or simply impatient or worse, we like to hear own voices. Better listening skills do help us to be better at our jobs and in our personal relationships. A better listener is more likely to have the ability to motivate, influence and negotiate and is rarely misunderstood – skills that are definite aces in today’s workplace.
And why should we listen
- deeper understanding
- better preparedness while responding
- building a connect with the person
Here are a few tips on active listening.
- Focus on the person – Do not let yourself be distracted and do not start forming your responses
- Convey interest – Nod occasionally. Do not cross your hands across your chest or look beyond the person
- Clarify – Summarise a point or clarify intermittently. Show the person that you are with him
- Reply – Pause, gather your thoughts and respond clearly
This is a skill and with most of us it does not come easily and therefore learning to listen actively requires conscious effort and will. Try it and you will see people accepting you as a responsive and concerned leader.
The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people ~ Woodrow Wilson
“Leadership Blogathon” entry submitted by Joshy Mathews, Managing Director, VOX Public Relations India & GRO (Global Resource Optimisation)
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