The ability to listen is one of the most important skills you can leverage as a leader and manager. Not only does this ensure that your employees are heard, but it broadens your perspective too. There are four types of listening that you should master.
We’ve explored the importance of listening in this series, and now it’s time to talk about some simple and practical strategies for honing your listening skills. It’s especially important for leaders, who have employees to manage and guide. Because simply standing in the room while someone talks is not enough.
No one can deny the enormous benefits brought by digital communication. However, being able to communicate with people without actually seeing or hearing them has downsides too. We lose the social cues offered by nonverbal communication.
Listening is critical to your workday and poor listening skills can ruin it. Top executives for a Chicago manufacturing plant were asked to survey the role of listening in their plant. After hearing a seminar on listening, Ralph G. Nichols and Leonard A. Stevens explain in their Harvard Business Review article, that one of the most common responses was:
“Frankly, I had never thought of listening as an important subject by itself. But now that I am aware of it, I think that perhaps 80 percent of my work depends on my listening to someone, or on someone else listening to me.”
This is true for nearly anyone who works with other people. Having good listening skills is critical to avoiding miscommunication and staying connected with other team members and managers.
Effective listening is a critical part of communicating—you can’t have one without the other. No matter where your position lies in the chain of command. Both managers and entry level employees alike need to hear feedback, take direction and understand the needs of the people around them.