It can’t be understated just how important it is to listen. In fact, at times, being silent and not saying a word can be more impactful for a conversation than talking.
Being a great listener is a skill that needs to be worked on, but it can be achieved. What’s clear, is that to have a great working relationship between managers and employees, it’s imperative to be able to listen and empathise to strengthen bonds across the workforce.
While talking and getting your point across is part of a traditional conversation, it’s also important to give way and listen to the thoughts of others. Without being able to listen effectively, communication breaks down.
If you fail to give space and time, they can easily become frustrated, irritated or upset that their thoughts and feelings aren’t being heard.
Fresh Ideas and Ways Forward
If you don’t allow others to express their thoughts, you won’t hear potential new ideas and thoughts which you might not come up with yourself.
By giving other people space, you allow them to express themselves which provides you with a better understanding of what their point of view is. This isn’t just beneficial for them, but also for you as it may give you better insight, fresh ideas and a new way of thinking.
It’s almost guaranteed that by not jumping in (whether you agree or disagree) and allowing the other person to freely talk, that you’ll hear new information that will help you.
Listening also allows you to encourage others by repeating back small words and phrases that they said. Once you’ve listened, you can go on to ask questions that deepen your understanding. Someone might say “I’m struggling to cope with work today” and you might say “what work is causing you an issue?” You engage and encourage the other person to speak about the root of the problem rather than changing the topic.
While on the surface it might seem like an arbitrary thing to do, repeating back will help the other person to feel encouraged, and get confirmation that they are being listened to.
Encouraging this kind of elaboration and making other people feel like they’re being heard will allow for improved communication. Which, when it comes down to it, is great as it creates a foundation for people to feel confident in what they’re saying, allowing them to more easily share their ideas and thoughts.
A Leader Listens
As we mentioned earlier, a great listener is imperative when it comes to becoming a great leader, whether that’s in business or elsewhere.
Listening can give you a plethora of advantages when it comes to your profession, for starters, it allows you to empathise more with people’s thoughts and feelings by giving them a platform to be heard. In turn, this will also encourage people to show you more respect and appreciation, for allowing them to be heard. Even if you end up disagreeing on a certain subject, the fact that you allowed them to voice their point of view and considered it, is a step in the right direction.
For many leaders, listening is the most critical business skill of all. It’s powerful. And it’s contagious in a good way – good listening in you begets and encourages good listening in others.
How to have better conversations?
For more information on how to communicate effectively in today’s modern world, why not take the Better Conversations program. It’s a built from the ground up program that is designed to give individuals and teams the tools they need to move away from poor communication.
Its goal is to eliminate the pitfalls of unclear conversations, instead it helps people to get the most out of their communication strategies. Find out more >>