Inspiring leaders are intent on connecting with people and giving them the gift of their undivided attention. It is a skill, for we all have to work hard to overcome our natural inclinations, which make us bad listeners.
We get easily distracted. We want to have our say, so we interrupt. If we don’t interrupt, we concentrate on what we want to say and wait for a gap, rather than focusing on what’s being said. We make judgements about the speaker, which blocks our ability to hear what they’re really trying to say.
Perhaps we do listen, but we become more interested in content than in feelings. We don’t try to observe body language, so we stare into space while listening – or perhaps we listen without any facial expressions, remaining silent throughout. Then we leap in with solutions and don’t bother to show that we have understood what we have been told. We certainly don’t acknowledge how the other person feels.
We are bad listeners without realising it. Yet, the simple act of listening well is inspirational in itself.
Good listening has massive business benefits. For more on how to check if you are a good listener, read this article I wrote for the Chartered Management Institute: https://bit.ly/31u6CxN