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One of the key leadership attributes that will make you successful is your ability to listen to your group.
When you think about some of the people that you consider to be the most effective communicators, chances are that they’re great listeners.
When you listen better as a leader a few things will happen:
• your team will perceive you as involving them more;
• they’ll see you as removing frustrations; and
• they’ll have a tendency to work through their problems on their own, allowing you to focus on more important issues and opportunities.
Being a better listener does not come easy for most of us. When I watch my colleagues, who I consider to be good listeners, I notice that they work hard at their listening skills.
Here are three things I noticed.
First, they ask questions, because when you ask questions, especially good open-ended questions, it gets the other person to come up with solutions. Questions like, “How do you think we could solve that problem?” Or, “What do you think would work?” forces your team to problem solve.
The second thing I noticed is that they avoid distractions.
This is absolutely crucial because they’ll notice if you’re distracted. If you can’t give them your attention in the moment, tell them so and then check in with them later on to finish the conversation.
Thirdly, great listeners summarize. They repeat back what the person said and check to see if they heard correctly.
When your team feels listened to, the morale and attitude will improve and it becomes easier to lead your group and to hit your numbers.
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