The importance of active listening

I was reading an HBR blog today and it reminded me of one of the most critical management skills, the art and science of active listening.  Christine  Riordan notes:  “Study after study has shown that listening is critical to leadership effectiveness. So, why are so few leaders good at it?

Too often, leaders seek to take command, direct conversations, talk too much, or worry about what they will say next in defense or rebuttal. Additionally, leaders can react quickly, get distracted during a conversation, or fail to make the time to listen to others. Finally, leaders can be ineffective at listening if they are competitive, if they multitask such as reading emails or text messages, or if they let their egos get in the way of listening to what others have to say.”

Another important point about active listening is that just because you hear what your employees or colleagues say, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them.

Taking in what others say, sorting it out in your own mind and saying it back, focused on the other person, develops relationships, validates the other person and helps them sort out their own thoughts.

 

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