Communication: Becoming a Better Leader Through Active Listening

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What is the most important quality for a leader to have? There are plenty of opinions out there, but good communication skills usually rank highly on everyone’s list. What’s often forgotten is that communication is about more than just being able to get your point across. Listening is the “bigger half” of good communication. Do you practice active listening with your employees?

What is Active Listening?

We typically think of listening as a passive act, so what is active listening? It’s when you put forth conscious effort to pay attention to what the person is saying. Rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak, active listeners focus on understanding what the other person is really saying. Active listening also involves showing the person you are paying attention with gestures, facial expressions and posture.

How to Improve at Active Listening

If this skill does not come naturally to you, don’t worry! You can get better at being an active listener. If you find it difficult to concentrate on what is being said, try repeating the speaker’s words in your head. Here are some other active listening tips from top business strategists. These were originally published by ACTE Online, which helps students learn “soft skills” like communication.

  • Create a safe space. Choose a quiet meeting place. Sit down at a time when you can listen without distraction.
  • Draw the other person out, perhaps by using phrases like “Tell me more,” or “Go on.”
  • Make eye contact and give them a genuine smile.
  • Avoid physical barriers between you and your team member.
  • When they finish speaking, confirm your understanding by restating or summarizing it.

As a top-rated Oregon temp agency and a permanent placement staffing firm, we know that happy employees produce better results. Active listening is one important way to make sure your employees are happy under your expert leadership. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to keep learning how you can be an even better team leader.

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