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Do you really listen when someone is speaking? Or are you formulating your arguments for your own case?
According to “Has Listening Become a Lost Art” on the Harvard Business School’s site, people feel listening is an important part of effective leadership. However, most people feel we are worse at it than ever.
Reasons cited for not listening include:
We stop listening to form our own responses
Social media trains us not to listen to diverse opinions
We aren’t sure of the return on investment of listening compared to other activities
While those reasons may be valid, what can you do to be a better listener? Here’s some ideas:
Realize listening is valuable. You learn more by listening to others. You can also tap into the variety of ideas and creativity throughout your organization by listening more.
Accept that holding difficult conversations is part of your job. Working with your staff to solve problems, and work through disagreements is one of the reasons you are a leader. This tough conversations require better listening.
Develop a more inquisitive approach. Ask questions instead of telling. You learn more when you listen than when you talk.
Stay focused. It is easy to pretend you are listening when you are really thinking about the next meeting. Give the person talking your full attention.
I coach leaders and teams to be better communicators. I facilitate meetings so that everyone can be heard.
Want to talk? Contact me at Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
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