Habit 5 of 7
As a leader, you’ve likely been in a professional development meeting where the leader used the term “active listening.” This kind of listening includes being engaged in the conversation, hearing the message the other person is attempting to convey (not just the words they are saying), and maintaining eye contact as much as reasonably possible. It is a skill – not a gift – which means it can be learned. It does take practice, and there are many ways to do that. The thing to keep in mind is this: It’s tough to be an active listener when, rather than really hearing what the other person is saying, you’re mentally preparing or reviewing your own points.
Taking turns in a conversation to continue to argue or defend our ideas is the antithesis of active listening. It’s what I call reactive listening, which does not create a safe space for openly sharing ideas, thoughts, feelings, and feedback. It’s impossible to felt heard when the person on the other side of your message is merely waiting for you to stop talking so they can take over!
Healthier Habit: Listen to understand. Practice, practice, practice the art of listening to understand. Learn to stop finishing someone else’s sentences, thoughts, or points. Learn to listen fully – watching the body language and listening to the tone of the message. Don’t jump to conclusions. Instead of offering your thoughts immediately, consider asking “What I think I hear you saying is . Is that accurate?”.
You don’t have to agree with the person on the other side of the conversation to let them know you’ve heard them. That’s the beauty of the dialog – it’s a back-and-forth dance that conveys a message of importance, intimacy, trust, and respect, regardless of agreement.
Over the last four weeks, I’ve shared with you a few new habits to incorporate into your daily walk: learning to state clearly what your expectations are, believing the best intent from another person, allowing colleagues to follow their own process to realize the expected results, and how using vulnerability provides an avenue for deeper conversations, greater sympathy, and enhanced empathy. Which of these habits have you practiced?
I can help you intentionally identify your habits, in this case, how well you actively listen, to help you grow into a truly excellent leader. Let’s chat!
P.S. Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!
P.P.S. With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader. My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching. I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.