Leaders, we’re busy people. We have lots of responsibilities and objectives to accomplish every day. Here’s one thing we can do that will exponentially improve our relationships with employees and provide us with valuable information and insights for doing our jobs.
Learn to listen. Actively listen. Stop what you’re doing when people start to communicate with you and look at them, look them right in the eye. I know the challenges, many of us pride ourselves on being multi-taskers, we can use electronic equipment, we can walk, we can talk, we can fill out paperwork, we can do any number of things all while supposedly listening to the people speaking to us. I’m not even going to challenge the fact that you might be able to do that well, because there are good multi-taskers out there. But it really makes very little difference if you’re good at it or not. The message that we send to the person speaking to us—that we’re hopefully listening to, as we go about these multi-tasking activities—the message that we send to them is that they don’t have our attention and we’re not fully focused on them and from a leader/follower relationship that can be. . .well, that can be very bad.
What I’m encouraging you to do is that the next person that walks up to you and starts talking to you, you stop. You stop whatever you’re doing. You square yourself up and you look right at the person and you continue to look at them for the duration of whatever they’re communicating. You listen to them for the next twenty seconds, the next two minutes, the next twenty minutes, as the case might be, by looking squarely at them.
When you do this, people are going to respond to you differently because they know you’re now listening and listening with effectiveness. And from a leader/follower relationship that can be. . .well, that can be very, very good!
Just one more thing that Leaders Ought to Know.
Phillip Van Hooser
For more tips on communicating for leaders, check out this video segment.