[vimeo id="148257282"] Listening is one of the most effective tools that a leader can have. It’s not just a passive thing we do when we’re interacting with others. Listening is a tool that empowers people on your team. Leaders who take the time to listen to employees, customers, and other leaders are empowering organizational development. Here’s a few things I’ve learned about listening.
First, listen for your team’s strengths. Granted there are many strengths that you will know right away when you bring on a new teammate. It’s easy to see from a resume or from recommendations, but what I’m talking about are strengths the person might not know they have. As a leader you must observe, empower and listen to them as you work with them. When those strengths begin to reveal themselves, make sure your teammate recognizes them. Encourage them, empower them and spur them on to cultivate those strengths.
Secondly, listen for your team’s weaknesses. Do you always hear some common themes in the team? Are the same problems resurfacing in the team week after week? If so, there might be a deeper issue at play. Even though you see the surface of the problem, they’re only a symptom of the root problem. It could be an issue of with competing egos, it could be pride, arrogance, selfish ambition or perhaps some other significant insecurity problem. As a leader, you have to listen for that and use wisdom and discernment to uncover the true problem before you can begin to mend it.
Third, listen for new growth curves. These are the fresh ideas that are coming up in the industry you work in. I like to call this “listening to the pulse of the market.” What are the demands? What are the needs? How do you deliver what you offer more efficiently. It’s all about developing and listening to those new curves of development that will cultivate fresh growth and new life in your organization. Keep your eyes and ears open for what’s going to keep you on the cutting edge in your industry.
Lastly, listen with intentionality. As a leader you must listen to what is not being said. This is part of being an intentional listener. A lot of times our mind will want to fill in the blanks or will jump to conclusions. As an intentional listener you will know to differentiate between what was actually said and what was assumed. We should never operate in our decision-making when we’re exposed to assumptions, either ones developed by your mind or by those around. Intentional listeners become good decision-makers because they hear the true narrative of the conversation. Intentional listeners don’t jump into conclusions, they make effective choices because they took the time to hear out their environment.
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