Successful leaders listen because they know that they don’t know everything they need to know.
Who do you listen to?
Abraham Lincoln understood that if you surround yourself with people who agree with you, you will miss out on important information and perspective. Charged with unifying a divided country, he understood that the strongest cabinet was made up of people who did not all think alike.
If someone annoys you because they frequently bring up negative views, consider that they might be voicing the views of others besides themselves – views that you need to take into account.
When you keep those with differing views close to you, instead of banishing them, you can avoid getting isolated in an ivory tower.
By listening respectfully, you’ll gain an understanding of what’s really going on around you, and it puts you in a position to act with the interests of all in mind.
5 Tips to Listen Like a Successful Leader
Listening means hearing. You don’t have to agree with what you hear. All you need to do is make sure you understand what is being said.
1. Give your undivided attention. Don’t multi-task. Close your laptop, put away your phone, set aside your work.
2. Wait during a pause. Don’t interrupt or finish someone’s sentence, even if they pause. Let them find their own words.
3. Listen with curiosity. Ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand what they are saying.
4. Separate your reactivity from the message. If they say something that annoys you or if you strongly disagree, pause and reflect on what exactly bothers you. It is almost impossible to think logically when you are emotionally charged. Consider whether there is possibly a kernel of truth in the message or something worth investigating further.
5. Don’t start thinking of your response while you’re listening. Have faith that your best response will arise after they have expressed their thoughts. Pause before you response to see what arises in you.