Leading by Listening
The old paradigm that the leaders are supposed to tell their followers what and how to do things, is losing its plot in the modern era. The new leader understands that he has to harness the power and potential of the people and this is done by listening to them. Listening is an art which needs to be learnt and practised It is perhaps the most essential skill for a modern leader.
Listening is much much more than hearing. Listening involves getting into the shoes of the other person. It involves empathy and an understanding of emotions.
Data from exit interviews across the industries and cultures shows that employees are disgruntled because they don’t feel engaged. Engaging employees is not just top down one-way communication. Engagement involves listening. When the employees feel being listened to, they feel engaged. Many managers feel afraid that if they let their employees express too much they will become too demanding and eventually dissatisfied because managers would not be able to meet those demands. Listening is not about agreeing – it is about understanding. Only when you understand the other side completely, you will be able to enter into a conclusive dialogue and be able to influence. You can be a good listener and also assertive at the same time.
Listening is a key coaching skill and the leaders who use coaching as their conversation style, use it successfully to motivate and influence their people and stakeholders.