Three Ways to be a Leader Who Listens
Just like personal relationships, professional relationships work best when there is effective collaboration and communication from both sides. Stewart Levine is an expert on masterful communication and has studied the ways in which you can better lead in the workplace.
We tend to ignore emotion in the business sphere, but emotions can be highly valuable for guiding us to take the right steps.
On the other hand, hurt and damaged emotions can hinder performance and success. This is why it is essential for you, Oh Brilliant One, to become a leader who listens and makes the most out of your business relationships. To do so, you must learn some valuable skills, and apply them, incorporating a paradigm shift into how you interact with your teammates on a day-to-day basis.
1. Everyone has a story
Before you cut someone off and try to get your points in, remember that each person experiences everything differently from you, and they have their version of events, or their own unique ideas.
Become a leader who listens, and fully consider what they have to say.
Communication goes both ways, and while it is important to effectively get what you have to say across to the other person, you can do so once you have heard their side. Use the opportunity to learn more about your partner, and actively engage by asking questions and showing that you are interested. It is a delicate balance between listening and talking; a graceful dance where both partners engage in responses.
2. Dial back criticism
If you are being overly critical, people are less likely to respond positively.
Appreciate and acknowledge your peers, and as a leader, learn to validate.
If you just cannot accept something about someone, and it is very hard for you let go of your hostility, ask them about it, and try to understand why they are that way.
If you cannot, let it go, because you are simply adding to your own stress.
An easy way to avoid being critical is to use “I” instead of “you”; for example, instead of saying “you are stressing me out,” you can say “I am feeling very stressed by all of this.” This will convey your feelings without criticizing the other person.
3. Think about civic engagement
We often forget the basic niceties we learned in preschool, and tend to engage with others in an aggressive or impersonal manner.
Always be considerate of others, and let them know that you think of them as important individuals.
When you are a pleasant and affable person, even the worst news doesn’t sound as bad coming from your mouth.
Remember that just because you are in a leadership position, it does not give you the right to treat your employees as lesser individuals, and always remember to treat others, not as you would treat yourself, but rather, as they would treat themselves.
To learn more about Stewart Levine’s work, you can read his groundbreaking book, Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict Into Collaboration.
As a leader, you may find that you often forget to communicate and work towards success on an individual level. Hone your ability to masterfully communicate with your team and once you become a leader who listens, you can guide them effectively.