When someone is talking to you, do you stop what you’re doing and listen? Do you continue to multitask, or do you allow your mind to wander? If you aren’t giving the conversation your full attention, you aren’t truly listening. Active listening is a skill that is important in both your personal life and your professional life. It’s worthwhile for everyone to brush up on their active listening skills.
Active listening is listening to someone without multitasking. It is as simple as giving another person your complete attention and focusing on what he or she has to say. This seems fairly straightforward, but few people actually do it. It requires effort to listen like this, but it’s worth it. Good listening skills are crucial to being a good communicator and leader.
Listening well is especially critical for those in leadership positions. Leading well is much more than just telling people what to do and making important decisions. It also involves creating strong interpersonal relationships with others on the team. It’s impossible to develop rapport and cultivate mutual respect with those who don’t actively listen.
When a leader listens well, he or she will be, by default, more understanding. The best teams are those created with a sense of true concern. When team members can speak openly and feel confident their voices will be truly heard and understood, the team itself is stronger for it. Active listening is a beneficial leadership skill in any type of professional setting and in any type of leadership position.
An old adage points out that since people have two ears and one mouth, they should listen twice as much as they speak. This is good advice, but you may want to take it one step further. Instead of listening more than you speak, strive to make sure you are listening well.
By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC