LISTENING: A simple way to become a better leader

Developing better listening skills is hard and it takes practice and courage. Like learning any new skill, it will seem cumbersome at first. The rewards of acquiring this new skill will be tremendous however, as you develop into a true leader.

Here are some easy tips to get you started:

Demonstrate that you are listening by restating what you hear:

Paraphrase your understanding of what is being communicated. Summarize the key points.

Establish eye contact and lean toward the person to communicate that you are actively listening.

Remember that effective listening includes asking questions.

When working with a group, you may find that your questions help others to discover better solutions that they may not have thought of otherwise.

Try to always ask clarifying questions before offering advice or voicing your opinion.

Slow everything down when you are trying to improve your listening skills.

As a leader, you are accustomed to moving quickly and reacting instantly to new information.

Slowing down your thought processes and responses will allow you to absorb important details and really connect with the other person.

If you disagree with what someone is saying, let the speaker finish before giving your opinion.

If you are really tempted to interrupt, count to four before you reply.

Although it will be difficult to change your current habits, effective listening allows you to truly connect with others, which will result in stronger working relationships.

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