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Most good listeners work hard at listening. It might come easier for some people than others, but you can develop your listening skills. When you become a better listener, you’ll notice that your relationships improve, performance increases and your own ability to persuade and influence will grow stronger.
Stay focused on the individual, make eye contact and avoid letting your eyes wander to things happening in the background. Put away any distracting devices and make the person in front of you your priority. If you have something urgent to attend to, tell the person you need to take care of something first and then you’ll be able to give them the time and attention they deserve.
Many leaders are fast-paced and they will have a tendency to finish people’s sentences or cut them off before they finish expressing their thought. This can be perceived as disrespectful by the team member. In many situations, all the person needs is the opportunity to get something off their chest and they may even be able to solve the issue on their own by simply talking it out.
You can show you’re listening by nodding and using words like, “Tell me more” or “That’s interesting”. You can also ask questions for clarification before you respond. The ultimate listening skill is summarizing what the other person said before responding.
Some leaders avoid certain employees because of past run-ins and experiences. You must suspend judgment about the person or the message until you hear them out.
By focusing on your listening skills, your team members will see you as a more effective communicator and a better leader.
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