Are you a leader? I know you think you are so you are reading this, but are you? Here is one question you need to answer and be very honest with yourself.
Are you a GOOD listener? You have heard, readers are leaders. That is one of the steps to being a good leader. Reading can help you while listening can propel you.
Good vs GREAT? In order to even be considered to be a great leader, you have to have the skill of listening. Notice I said SKILL. Skills are things you learn. I will ask again, are you a good listener? Good listener. Yes, I repeated it because as a good listener we understand that quite often we tune out the people who are talking. If they are not exceptionally skilled at communicating they will often times bore their listeners. When that happens the listeners will space off, lose interest, let their mind wander, daydream, find themselves thinking of many other things.
When that happens… we have to be able to ask them to repeat what they were just saying. As simple as – can you repeat that, please? That seemed important and I didn’t want to miss the point you are trying to make by missing a key part of it.
Do you ask people to repeat even though it was you who drifted off? You should. Asking them to repeat themselves indicates a level of interest. And it brings both of you back to the place where you were disconnecting. Good leaders always want to make the other person feel valued and keeping yourself aware helps solidify you as a person who cares.
Yes, some people are so self-centered they could not possibly know you are or were not listening. Those should be the exceptions in your circle of interest.
Now go back and look inside very closely. Are you a good listener? Are you an OK, listener? Or, maybe you are a great listener! That would make you the exception because most of us listen with the intent to speak not for the intention to understand.
A great listener makes great eye contact. A great listener uses positive modifiers to let the speaker know you are listening. A great listener interrupts – WAIT! What? Interrupts?
Yes, a great listener interrupts the speaker in order to clarify, learn and grow the communication. You interrupt with the intent to ask a question for clarification of a point or idea the speaker is making.
What do you think now? Are you a good listener? Are you a great listener? Or do you need help & work? Does your team need help? Are you training your team to be excellent leaders by training them on the Art Of Listening?
You might want to take my one hour course on Leadership Through Listening. Available at Steve@stevesapato.com along with many other modules on becoming a great leader.
Drop me a note and let me know, are you good, great or need work? I look forward to hearing from you.
Steve Sapato – Leadership and personal growth expert.