The Power of Listening at All Levels
The success of an organization doesn’t just stem from the top — it comes from every single level of the organization working in harmony. But if your people don’t feel their voices are being heard, they’re unlikely to feel motivated to do the best job they can.
This is why listening as a leader is so important. On its most basic level, listening opens you up to incredible ideas you may never have been exposed to if you didn’t intentionally take the time to hear what your team members are saying. Taking the time to listen to unexpected — or quieter — voices may also offer different perspectives that can move the organization in new and exciting directions. One story that demonstrates this best is that of a janitor at a snack company who shared his idea for a new snack with the CEO. It turned out to be a million-dollar idea that eventually landed him a position as an executive with that company.
Beyond bringing in fantastic ideas, listening builds a bridge of trust between you and your employees. Leaders often go through their days expecting their team members to trust them, but putting in the effort to make sure that trust is reciprocated isn’t as common as it should be. Actively setting aside time to listen to your employees’ thoughts, ideas and concerns shows your team that you respect them as professionals and understand the value they bring to the business, which, in turn, builds trust and connection.
Listening may seem like an easy task, but it takes more effort than one might think. After you have a conversation with one of your employees, ask yourself:
- Did I listen without interrupting?
- Did I get distracted by the time, my phone, my email, or something else?
- Did I put in an effort to understand what the other person was trying to tell me?
- Was I open to what this person was trying to tell me?
More often than not, the answers to these questions are mixed, but it’s particularly important to put in the effort to get listening right. It isn’t often people listen with genuine attention. When leaders make an effort to genuinely listen to understand rather than to respond, it goes a long way in showing people that their thoughts and participation are valued, and it contributes to building a bond like few other leadership techniques can accomplish.
Interested in learning how to lead through listening and build bonds with your employees? Click here to schedule a free consultation with one of our coaches today!