Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever walked into an important meeting and wondered who the most intelligent person in the room is? Often, they are not the one doing all the talking; they are the one doing most of the listening. In today’s episode of the Champion Forum Podcast, we’re talking about the single quality that separates good leaders from great leaders: the ability to listen. While some may be impressed with how well you speak, the right people will be impressed with how well you listen. Great leaders are great listeners.
“Speak only if it improves upon your silence.” - Gandhi
You cannot be a great leader without being a great communicator. Most leaders fail to understand that the purpose of communication is not to talk for the sake of talking but to engage. If you want to engage, you have to become an excellent listener.
4 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener:
1. Remember that it’s not about you.
Stop worrying about what you’re going to say and focus on what’s you are hearing. Your goal should not be to validate your opinions or stroke your ego. Leaders need to be humble and willing to learn if they are going to be great listeners.
2. You should never be too busy to listen:
Have you ever dismissed someone because of their position or title when you should have listened? Wisdom doesn’t just come from peers and those above you – it can come from anywhere at any time, but only if you’re willing to listen. Expand your sphere of influence and learn from those with different perspectives and experiences.
3. Listen to non-verbals:
People say more with their actions, inactions, body language, facial expressions, etc., than they do with their words. Most people won’t verbalize their opposition or disagreement, but they will almost always deliver a message with their body language.
4. Let listening be your personal brand:
When people recognize you as a great listener, people know that you respect them and feel like they can trust you. Being recognized as a great listener will open doors, create opportunities, and take you where talking never could.
Evaluate your listening skills with one of the listening tests linked here and here. As you take the test, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and pick one area of listening to improve. For example, you can decide not to interrupt other people or eliminate distractions from your conversations.
Leaders who struggle with active listening will often struggle to identify the problems their employees face, which will only increase communication issues on their team. The next time you are in a conversation, use the questions below to make sure you are identifying the root of the problem.
How do you feel about _______?
What concerns you the most about ________?
What problem are you currently facing?
What is your main obstacle?
What is holding you back from _______?
How would you feel about doing XXXX this way?
Tell me more about ______.
What have you tried so far?
How can I help?
How do you want ____________ to turn out?
What is your desired outcome?
What else do you/we need to consider?