In Effective Communications, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Listening Skills, Management on June 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm
Picture this. You call an employee into your office for a meeting. As your employee is explaining something to you, you turn to your computer monitor to check e-mail. Or, you answer your phone. Or, you look at your mobile device. Or, you engage in a conversation with someone who enters your doorway.
Do any of these once and your employee will likely forgive you. Do any of these actions regularly and you’ll quickly lose the respect of your employee!
Rarely is there a reason not to give your employee your full, undivided attention during a meeting/conversation. You can only be a good listener if you are maintaining eye contact with your employee and not multi-tasking.
In General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Listening Skills, Management on February 22, 2011 at 5:24 am
Here are some ways to sharpen your listening skills to help you derive the fullest meaning from what is being communicated:
- Listen for potential
- Listen for what’s not said
- Listen for inconsistency
- Identify nonverbal signals
- Listen for perspective
- Listen for energy
- Listen for themes and threads
- Listen for what’s behind the words
- Listen through the silence
- Listen for positive change
- Acknowledge you’re listening
- Know when to interrupt
The last tip, about interrupting, kind of surprised me when I read this list in the book, What Could Happen If You Do Nothing. But, there are times when interrupting makes sense. Strategic interrupting can be both clarifying and productive for both parties. For example, it makes sense to interrupt when:
- You feel that you or the other person has lost the thread
- You need clarification to fully get what’s going on
- There’s an opportunity to offer a suggestion
- It might be helpful to reframe or offer another way to look at a situation
And, if you are having a conversation with someone who is expressing their feelings or attitudes, keep in mind that according to professor Albert Mehrabian of UCLA that within that communication to you:
- 7 percent is in the words that are spoken
- 38 percent is in the way the words are said
- 55 percent is in facial expression
In General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Listening Skills, Motivating Employees on March 24, 2010 at 7:37 pm
If your employees were asked if you are a leader who listens, would their answer paint a picture like this one?
Listening, truly listening, is one of the most essential skills to have to be an effective leader.
To test your listening skills, try this exercise for your next five to six one-on-one conversations:
- After each discussion write down who spoke the most. Jot down the highlights of the discussion, and what you learned from the discussion that you did not know prior to the conversation. Then, ask the person with whom you had the discussion to review your notes and ask him/her to confirm what you wrote. If there’s disagreement between what they said they said and what you wrote down, that will tell you that you need to improve your listening skills.
It will take a little extra effort to do this exercise, but it can be both revealing and helpful. You might try this first with peer-level co-workers.
Another way to improve your listening skills is to ask questions during a conversation. Don’t ask more than one question at a time. And, ask your questions at appropriate times. Ask your questions to clarify what you are hearing and to demonstrate you are listening to the person speaking.
Also, don’t forget to summarize your conversations with your employees. Use your own words to summarize what you understood. Your summarizing what you heard will help prevent misunderstandings. It also demonstrates to your employee that you are really listening.
Take notes. Jotting down the most pertinent parts of a discussion will help you to remember the details and will demonstrate to the person who’s speaking to you that you are engaged.
Other listening tips include:
- Maintain eye contact.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Don’t finish the other person’s sentences.
- Don’t prejudge.
- Watch for non-verbal clues.
- Show respect.
In General Leadership Skills, Leading By Example, Listening Skills, Soliciting Feedback on November 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm
Being an expert listener is one of the most powerful things you can do as a manager.
When you listen carefully to your employees, you’ll gain their respect and you’ll learn more about what’s going on within your organization.
Listening involves much more than what you hear. When you listen carefully, you are maintaining eye contact with the person speaking. You are watching for non-verbal clues, body language, gestures and facial expressions.
Being an effective listener also means repeating back to the employee what you heard her say to ensure that you understood her correctly. This is a crucial step that many managers forget to do.