As a leader or manager you have to master a whole lot of skills and manage and lead yourself.
Communication is one of those areas that is spoken about a lot.
We learn about the importance of producing good written reports.
We all know that as a leader or manager you have to get competent when it comes to verbal communication.
What we learn less is the importance of effective listening.
What listening level do you operate at most of the time?
You will read about different levels of listening. For me simplicity is vital.
Essentially all of us, including those in management and leadership roles tend to listen at one of three levels.
Level 1 listening is probably where most operate most of the time even though it’s the least effective in terms of listening.
At level 1 you’re listening is very shallow. More often than not you are listening just to respond with your point of view. You might even notice that you or others are continually interrupting or cutting people off mid sentence. Observe behaviours in most meetings and you will see a lot of this.
Sadly the more senior you are the more likely you are to operate in level 1 more than you should.
Level 2 listening is often referred to as focused listening.
At level 2 you tend to be really paying attention to what is being said. You will be trying hard to really understand the other people or person. You might well be asking questions to check your understanding.
Level 2 is definitely a positive step forward.
Level 3 listening is often referred to as global listening. At this level you are really paying attention to what is being said, how it is being said, the emotions and body language.
At level 3 you are also looking out for disconnects between what is being said and the non verbal message that others are communicating.
Why does listening matter?
From a leadership or management perspective listening matters for a whole host of reasons.
You get better engagement
If people know that their contributions are appreciated and valued, they are much more likely to engage.
For many organisations and a lack of engagement is a significant issue.
You get more respect
Who would you give more respect to?
The manager or leader who thinks they know it all and don’t need your perspective on things or the manager or leader who is self aware and knows they come up with better solutions if they listen to others?
You get better results
Individuals can deliver so much.
Ultimately any significant success comes through listening to and utilising the full benefits of team working.
The real consequences of not listening
In truth listening is key to success as a leader or manager.
So ask yourself what one action are you going to take to be an even better listener?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.