Demonstrating Love with Listening Skills
When we ask people what makes a good leader, one of the top traits they mention is a leader who listens to them! As we wrap this month of demonstrating love, we dedicate this blog to enhancing listening skills.
There is a big difference between hearing someone speak and truly listening to what they are conveying. Listening requires paying attention to the words the speaker chooses, the way they speak, their volume, their tone and most importantly, their body language. A good listener would observe what the person is saying and what they choose to leave out.
Becoming a good listener requires intentional effort. There are many external distractions preventing us from truly listening. The environment we are in might not be suited for us to listen with full attention; maybe the time is wrong for us to be fully present. Such distractions are manageable with minor adjustments.
The hardest barrier to listening however comes from within. It stems from our natural instinct to want to plug in our own opinions; often while the speaker is still talking and before they finish conveying their thought. We might do so subconsciously with the purest intention of wanting to help. We don’t realize that by doing so we are not helping at all; even worse, we might be damaging our relationship with the speaker.
Injecting our personal experiences before listening to the full story is not beneficial to the speaker. Not only does it interrupt their thought process, but it makes them feel less important. They feel unheard and that their situation did not matter to us.
The first step to becoming a good listener is self-control. It requires removing ourselves from the situation, disregarding our own experiences, and silencing our internal thoughts. By doing this simple step, we create space for true listening.
A great leader listens without judgment; they listen without interjecting their own experiences into the situation. They listen for the sake of connecting with the speaker’s emotions and desires. It is easier said than done, but remember, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason!
The aim of this blog is to raise self-awareness; to catch ourselves when we find we are practicing hearing rather than true listening skills. If we do this right, we can leave a legacy of being great leaders who build rapport with those around us.
For more on building your listening and communication skills, please reach out to us. We are more than happy to help in your leadership development journey.