5 tips to improve Listening Skills for better Leadership

If you read any book or article about what’s needed to be a great Leader, effective communication skills are key, particularly the ability to have great listening skills.

In these tips to improve listening skills for better leadership, we will explore how listening mastery is one of the five key essentials in communication that every Manager needs.

listening skills

Use open questions

When you want to uncover your customer’s needs, improve your negotiation techniques, or understand why there is conflict, open questions are an essential tool to understand the other person’s position.

Some people get into the habit of asking closed questions, searching for quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses. They make assumptions to save time. Open questions are powerful initiators to the art of listening. These questions begin with who, where, what, how and why?

Adapt your listening style to the other person’s culture

When working with international clients and colleagues, it’s important to adapt your listening style. What’s normal for you might not be for them. so showing emapathy and an understanding of their context is important.

Be aware of who you are speaking to, and you might be surprised how they reflect this and show more awareness of your culture and style too.

Practise listening without interrupting

You may have heard about active listening – it’s an important technique to master and uses the powers of all our senses, not just our ears. Being able to listen without interrupting is a powerful skill. One of the world’s leading sound experts, Julian Treasure said in his viral TED talk – 5 ways to listen betterwe are losing our listening.”

Next time you engage with colleagues, clients or family, listen with intent. You may discover more than you might imagine and build an even stronger relationship.

Don’t think about what you will say while the other person is speaking

In this interesting article in the Huffington Post, there is a unique definition of effective listening:

Listening involves letting the person finish their sentence completely and orientating your response around them, not yourself.”

Listen without thinking about a response or question, and try to avoid the distractions of how you are going to reply. This will help you to see non-verbal cues and identify those things that are not being said.

Actively listen for what’s under the surface

Look for cues in tone and body language. Actively seek what’s not being said but being suggested. This can be led by the emphasis on how the person presents the conversation, their conviction and their attitude.

Take the next step

Whether you are a new or an experienced Manager, there is no doubt that effective listening skills are essential to optimise productivity, efficiency and performance. What will you change to improve your listening skills?

4 Steps to Manage Change and Deal with Uncertainty

Throughout our careers, nothing will have any greater impact on us than change. For most, we enjoy the security of routine and the known boundaries in which we operate. Let’s begin to look at the 4 steps to managing change and dealing with uncertainty in a positive way.

Time for Change Sign With Led Light

Change can have substantial effects across so many fundamental levels.
  • It can weaken our self-confidence and self-efficacy
  • It can challenge our productivity at work
  • Create baseless fears and concerns
  • Can add stress between individuals and teams
  • Can be daunting in the face of new knowledge and systems

So are there factors that can help guide through the process of change? Is there a plan or blueprint that can better support and implement change?

The initial shock

You are moving through the day into the flow of work, maybe you have heard rumours of a change being implemented. A department being cut or merged with another, perhaps. Nothing has been confirmed, everyone is in the dark, then suddenly it is all announced with immediate effect. Most will feel shock and confusion, worry and concern. Questions will be raised about your position, the impact on the business, the new knowledge that you may be challenged to learn. This is the first stage of change.

defensive mode

The second stage begins to take effect. The shock has weakened, and the news is clear. Change has happened and is there in front of you. You don’t know why it had to happen, you question the logic of it, and the more you pull the decision apart the angrier you get. It just doesn’t make sense? This is the stage where your defensive retaliation to the initial shock is at its highest. You tend to band together with colleagues who agree with your position. All you can see are the difficulties. This is stage 2.

Just feels wrong

The uncomfortable stage begins to settle in. You are unhappy and feel awkward, unsure of what you are supposed to be doing. Of where the company is headed.

You sort of understand the advantages, yet remain unconvinced. Others are quick to point out faults and everyone is at their lowest point of morale. This is stage 3.

Slowly but surely

Time has now passed and things are starting to make sense. You can see the real advantages of why the change was implemented. This includes new skills that the change has brought to the business.

The progress forward seems heavy and slow, yet there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. This is stage 4.

How could this have been easier? What was missing? In each of these stages the key was the lack of communication.

In the first stage, a clear and united meeting should have been held to present the change, the impact and the benefits. Reassurances should have been given. At stage 2 team meetings should have been instigated to discuss issues and individual concerns. At stage 3 it is all about 1-2-1 and goal setting, action planning and clear objectives.

Change is inevitable. It can be an opportunity for growth, or it can be destructive. Which would you prefer?