The very best thing to you can do to become a better leader is to stop talking and start listening. And by “listen,” please don’t just wait for the person to stop so you can then get back to dominating the airwaves!
Listen, and then listen even more:
- Get beyond what you hear as words
- Listen to learn
- Ask questions which help the other person clarify her point
- Hint: such questions begin with How and What, never WHY
- Pay close attention to how the other is talking, in addition to what he is saying
- The above will help you avoid the preoccupation of planning your reply, too!
- Listen for the heart of the matter
- When it seems he or she is done, take a breath (ok, take TWO) before talking
- And when you do, paraphrase what you have heard, and ask if you “got” it
There you go! Creating the space to allow others to express their thoughts, and show that you care to hear them, transforms the working relationship from “transactional” to one of respect, trust and care.
Not only will contributions be better understood, they will be of greater quality. And guess what? YOU will be seen as a much better boss!