Listening has a number of practical benefits for executives, managers, and team members.
- Respect. Genuine listening generates respect, connection and trust between talker and listener. In particular, employees like, and respond better to, supervisors who they think are listening to them.
- Confidence. A supervisor who listens well will tend to build and have better self-esteem and self-confidence; feeling listened builds trust as it shows that what you have to say is meaningful for the other person.
- Cool down emotions. Focusing on listening helps both the talker and the listener stay cool and more objective/constructive when dealing with a crisis or discussing an emotional topic.
- Accuracy. Better listening leads to better recollection of important facts and figures, resulting in fewer miscommunications and fewer mistakes.
- Productivity. Productivity will be higher and problems solved more rapidly if people are encouraged to share issues and explain problems instead of getting advice.
As leaders we need to be open minded so that we hear what is being said and more importantly, what is being communicated. It is not easy. And it is important as a leader to have effective listening skills. Listening is the least practiced of the four communication skills—writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
The number one weakness in listening skills is the habit of interrupting others in the middle of a sentence. It shows lack of respect and disregard for the other individual's viewpoint. How can you be an effective leader if you continually show you are self-centered by not respecting the other’s viewpoint?
If you are self-centered and not paying attention to the other person, you are most likely not connecting, refusing to give feedback and not engaged. Use listening as an opportunity to grow. Significant leaders' success is predicated upon their ability to listen and understand others' viewpoint. Stepping into the shoes of another individual is a prerequisite to empathetically understanding them.
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”.
"God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can hear twice as much as we say."