Shhh! Listen. The quieter you become the more you can hear.
7 steps to be a great listener.
Listening is one of the most powerful leadership skills we have at our disposal, yet possibly the most overlooked. The power of listening is rarely acknowledged or effectively practised.
Stephen Covey writes ‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.’
How well are you listening?
Having been a successful leader of teams throughout my career in hospitality, I thought I was a good listener but I now realise that I was not as good as I thought I was. I would be listening from my own agenda and would readily interrupt with my thoughts and recommendations – too busy thinking of a response and my next question to give my full attention to understand what was being said.
It was only when I studied to become a leadership coach that I fully appreciated what a skill listening is. It is a skill that must be understood, continually practised and mastered over time.
7 steps to be a great listener –
- Be Present – genuinely be there. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact. Turn off all distractions
- Relax – be attentive. Keep an open mind & switch off your inner critic. Listen without judgement or by jumping to conclusions
- Focus – consciously listen to the words that are being spoken. Don’t think about your response – focus only on what is being said
- Stay quiet – don’t interrupt. Listen with patience
- Wait – some people speak slowly or take longer to articulate. Wait for a real stop in the conversation before speaking yourself
- Question – ask questions only to clarify what is being said. Don’t hijack the conversation with questions and your own agenda
- Feedback – let them know that you are listening. Reflect back some key points and show you understand the sentiments of what is being said.
When you consciously listen to others you can hear so much more.
David Guile is an Executive Leadership Coach. Having worked his way up through all the managerial levels within the hospitality industry to CEO, he combines hard-won experience with a robust coaching methodology to provide insights, support and direction to help emerging leaders find, own and work their potential and the potential of others.
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