Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening. They say that you’re given two ears and one mouth for a reason. What could you accomplish if you listened twice as much as you spoke?
Here’s how you can improve your listening and leadership skills.
You will be surprised how much you will learn if you just ask your team what they think. After all, they are on the front lines every day. They know what works and what doesn’t. They engage with customers on a regular basis and know what customers like and what they don’t.
Ask questions like:
- How would you approach this if you were in charge?
- What does the company do well? What could we do better?
- What do you hear from our customers?
Your team is likely to be a diverse bunch. They bring a ton of work and life experience to the job. They’ve seen things you haven’t and probably have a very different perspective from yours. Listening to what they have to say can get you of our head and help you see issues in a way you wouldn’t on your own.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
If you steer the conversation or have a specific answer in mind, you may as well be talking to yourself. When you have conversations with your team, skip the questions that can be answered yes or no and focus on those that will expand your mind in new and interesting ways.
Offer Brainstorming Opportunities
When you have challenges to resolve, don’t go it alone – take it to the team. Present the problem and ask for ideas to resolve them. Tell your staff that there are no stupid ideas – and mean it. Ideas that seem bad at first blush can often inspire other ideas that might not have come up otherwise.
Make Time to Listen
Sure, you’re busy, but so is everyone. Making time to talk to your employees and really listen to them is worth the time it takes. Listening fosters engagement. When employees feel that they are heard they are more motivated and they respect you as a leader.
Drop the Multitasking
When you’re not focused, you miss the whole picture. You should never be surprised when you lose a valuable employee. They’ve no doubt given hints. You have to be engaged to know what’s really going on with your team.
Listening improves your leadership skills by teaching you just how many perspectives there are in the world and how you can work effectively with different types of people. It helps you to engender respect from your employees and understand how to motivate them.
Staffing Partners helps professionals to hire and manage more effectively. We work with Oregon candidates and employers to make the right match and help them be their best every day. Contact the professionals at Staffing Partners today!