The singular people-connecting skill that any leader must master is listening, but not just any kind of listening. Leaders must listen with their whole being.
There’s so much riding on how we listen—from your employees feeling heard and validated, to obtaining key information that drives your business’ objectives. In other words, it’s the key skill to emotionally intelligent leadership.
It pays to listen, and it pays to listen well.
What does listening with your whole being look like in practice? Here are three things to keep in mind.
Be easy about this. Listening, like leadership, is presence, not performance. Witnessing and compassionate presence is what’s required.
When you “try” to listen, resistance and effort is introduced. Simply allowing yourself to listen is effortless and time stands still—for both parties. That kind of listening is deeply fulfilling. Listening is a skill that must be practiced. Compare it to learning to lift weights. Both are mastered with repetition. Silence, listening for themes, paraphrasing, asking open-ended questions, using a pause, and body language are all basic, practiced skills.
When you listen better, you lead better. When you lead better, the team performs better. Win. Win. Win.
Mary Pat Knight is CEO of Leaders Inspired – an executive coaching and consulting agency devoted to the development of emotionally intelligent leaders. She is also the author of the Amazon #1 International Best Selling book, The Humanized Leader.
The ground-breaking new book, The Humanized Leader: The Transformative Power of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership to Impact Culture, Team and Business Results, is now available in Kindle, paperback, or as an audiobook. To get your copy – or extras for your team, click the button below.