Today we are starting on a 8-10 week series which I’ll host on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It’s entitled the Leadership Foundations series and will serve as a basis primer for those being thrust into the leadership spotlight (formally or informally). It will also serve as a reminder of some key principles and practices for more experienced leaders. With today’s ongoing VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) leadership content, sometimes it’s great to return to the basics. And that’s what we are going to do this summer.
Three Keys to Listening:
Communication as a leader is a paramount skill set. It not only includes our ability to speak, but also our ability to listen, and ask great questions to empower the staff we are leading.
Today’s post takes a look at the skill of listening, whereas tomorrow we’re going to look at the foundations of questioning.
Listening is a fundamental skill and today’s post includes three simple things which done regularly can improve the quality of your listening.
When we listen there are multiple levels at which we can listen in the conversation:
1. Listening to what the person is saying
2. Listening to what the person is really saying and thinking about what we think of it
3. Thinking about what we are going to say next
Three keys to enhance your listening:
1. Focus on what the person is saying. Stop doing everything else – including typing on your keyboard, and listen to what they are saying. If you catch yourself going to think about what you are going to ask next, and focus back on what the person is saying.
2. Notice their body language. What is their body language saying? How do the words which are being used match the way they are speaking – notice their gestures, how open their body communication is. What are these subtle messages saying?
3. Check for understanding. Confirm that you are on the mark with your listening. Check in to see that you are understanding. Is your interpretation what was intended in the communication? Take a few minutes to confirm what you think you are heading with your listening? This can involve:
- Reflecting back what you heard to check for understanding
- Asking more questions for clarification
- Providing a summary of what you think you just heard
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