Why Listening Is The Most Important Skill Leaders Should Master
Did you know that the average person only retains 25% of the information that they hear?
Sadly, many people only listen with the intent to reply, but this means that all too often we are missing out on an opportunity to connect, understand the situation of others and even gain a fresh perspective on the things that are most important to us.
As leaders, our ability to truly listen to our teams strongly impacts our effectiveness in managing them and enhancing their productivity levels. Here are a few reasons why we should all improve our listening skills and really tap into what our people are telling us.
Nurture strong relationships
Having a leader who is willing to listen not only gives employees a platform to have their views heard, it also helps nurture strong relationships built on trust and mutual respect.
When employees struggle, the business as a whole falters too. Listen, absorb, understand and then act if you want your team members to feel confident that you care about their opinions and are there to support them in all matters. Regular feedback and reviews can be helpful here, especially initially. Robust onboarding processes and a culture which fosters openness and makes everyone feel heard and valued also underpin strong workplace relationships.
New perspectives, new ideas
By listening to the people that keep those business wheels turning on a daily basis, you’ll be able to gain a fresh new perspective. You might also find that there is an increased flow of creative ideas to improve and enhance current processes from the people that know your business best. Open your ears and you could just uncover some ideas for improvement that you might not have considered before.
Sadly, not all of the information that colleagues and employees are willing to share is positive.
From time to time, you’ll find that your team needs a safe space to vent about any frustrations linked to their role. This can be hard to hear but be resilient as it is important that you embrace all information they impart and act accordingly on their feedback if you want to keep a channel of communication open at all times.
Listening to your staff is only truly effective if you are willing to act on the information they give you where necessary. Be sure to take the rough with the smooth and you’ll soon gain a reputation as a leader that’s able to hear what your staff are saying and willing and able to then offer them the support they need to be at their brilliant best.