Listening skills are extremely valuable in leadership. Some leaders learn to be good listeners at a young age while others spend many years learning to listen and still struggle. As a leader, you probably have many interactions with other leaders.
I am sure many of you have dealt with leaders that didn’t listen to anyone. You may have also seen leaders that only listened to the advice of their very close friends or immediate coworkers. In these situations, was it hard to deal with the leader? How did you manage to work together as a team? Leaders that fit this mold have not learned good listening skills.
The Importance of Listening Skills
As leaders, it is very important to learn listening skills. Listening effectively is far more than just hearing the words coming out of the mouths of others. When you have good listening skills, you fully engage with those you speak with. You not only hear the words people are saying, you pay complete attention to understand everything they are saying.
When you are a leader, there are three groups of people you are required to listen to regularly. They are your employees/subordinates, coworkers/equals, and the bosses/higher-ups. You will want to have enhanced listening skills when you listen to these three groups to be an effective leader. So why should you listen to each group?
To Whom Should You Listen?
If you have enhanced listening skills towards your employees/subordinates, they will give you invaluable feedback. They will give you a perspective on your leadership techniques that you won’t get from any other source. They will also help you to understand the challenges they regularly face. To get that feedback and understanding, you need to listen to what they have to say.
Your coworkers do similar work, but deal with different people and face different challenges. When they explain how they have handled their experiences, you will get a different perspective. With enhanced listening skills, you hear the insight of your coworkers/equals and learn to recognize both good and bad techniques for handling situations.
Because the bosses are the bosses, you don’t have any choice but to listen to them. Ultimately, they will help you to enjoy your work experience or they will make your life miserable. By using your listening skills with the bosses, you get their advice and feedback which will help you to be a better employee.
As leaders, listening skills are an invaluable tool to help you understand and effectively run your organization. Leaders don’t know everything or have all the answers, so good listening skills will help you to learn from those with experience at all levels so you don’t make same mistakes others made in the past.
Why are good listening skills important to you? How have good listening skills improved your job performance? How does listening to these three groups help you to be a better leader? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!