When you are in a conversation with another executive or one of your staff, do you really listen to what they are saying, or do you half-listen while creating your response in your head? A good listener is a good communicator and you must communicate your vision to your staff if they are to follow your lead.
Leadership means listening. Whether they are employees or customers, people want to be heard. Listen by soliciting feedback and gathering opinions, then act on the collective intelligence of your people.
There are different levels of listening, and the deepest level connects the best. Make eye contact, give 100 percent of your attention, ask questions to expand or deepen the conversation, let them do the talking, and follow up on what you heard.
You may not act on someone’s idea or opinion, but by following up with them about your actions, you show that you took their perspective into consideration. People want to know that they had the opportunity to give input and be heard. By following up, you reinforce that you’re listening and that it matters to you.
It’s impossible for your direct reports to have all the information about your organization. Listening to as many stakeholders as possible, both internal and external, will provide you with better data to make decisions, improvements, and innovations to achieve the vision.
EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP ACTION PLAN
What can you do to increase your opportunities to listen even more?
How will you follow up on what you heard?
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when
you’d have preferred to talk.”
~ Doug Larson