Great leaders influence people to act to further an organization’s objectives. In order to convince people to follow them, leaders need to communicate, reaching people where they are (as opposed to where the leader wants them to be). Reaching people where they are requires knowledge.
How do you obtain this information? Conversation and listening. Great leaders know how to listen. Not only do they listen, but people interacting with them you know that they are listening. When a leader makes someone feel heard, they are more willing to go along, even if they don’t completely agree.
How can you listen like a great leader? Here are five steps:
1) Be open to the idea that you do not have all the answers and that the people you are talking to have information that you need. Think of them as valued partners who like you want for the organization to be successful, although you may have different ideas as to how to get there.
2) Because you are talking to people with valuable information, give them your undivided attention (no interruptions or multi-tasking). Remember that your body language is important.
3) When you are listening, you want to hear what they have to say, so resist the temptation to make them wrong. Don’t argue, interrupt or press your point of view.
4) Acknowledge and repeat back – by making sure that you understood what the person said, you are communicating that it is important to you to understand what the person was saying.
5) Ask open ended questions - such as, “What makes you feel that way?” or “How would that work?” or “Tell me more.” In doing so you will get a greater understanding of the person’s perspective, what led them to have that perspective, and possibly ideas as to how to work through areas where you do not agree.
You will find that deeper listening will provide you with a treasure trove of information that will benefit you and your company, and you will find that you may even develop better business relationships because of it. Who knows, they might have ideas that may help you to refine yours and make them better.
QUESTION: How do you make sure that others know that you are really listening?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.