Today we’re going to talk about leadership listening. More importantly, we’ll cover why it’s important and how to enhance it.
Not long ago, I was discussing organizational change with a former classmate. His organization is undergoing a major customer service improvement initiative. As for the effective execution of this initiative, he suggested it would transform the way they do business and enhance their customer experience. Ultimately, the end goal of this initiative is for all customers to truly be “wowed” by exceptional customer service. (For more on exceptional customer service, take a look at this post)
Then he went on to say that being a part of this type of comprehensive organizational planning with the CEO and Senior Management Team involves intensive research, brainstorming, and discussion to create and execute an effective organizational strategy.
But it also involves, or at least should involve, leadership listening.
The Importance of Leadership Listening
With many great minds in the room, and with many differing ideas and perspectives on what will create success, it’s important for everyone around the boardroom table to be given a chance to be heard and provide input.
The CEO in this situation plays the role of the facilitator. They are listening to all suggestions, providing feedback, and eventually creating a structured action plan going forward. My former classmate indicated that it was only through effective leadership listening that all stakeholder suggestions were heard and recognized by their team members.
So, use this story as a clear reminder for any business and leader of the importance of “listening” in planning, communicating, facilitating and leading important projects and members of your team.
Quick Tips to Enhance Leadership Listening
Now, as for enhancing this type of listening in your own business? We’re about to tell you how! Below are five quick tips to encourage innovation through effective listening that you can apply in your business:
1) Create a meaningful connection
In the above example, the CEO was able to relate to his team members by not doing all of the talking. He would stop, make eye contact and be fully engaged in each team member’s presentation. This builds meaningful and rewarding connections with your team members.
(For more on connections, look at this post next: Communication for Everyone – How to Connect with External and Internal Customers)
2) Encourage confidence building
Does each member around your boardroom table have the right or time to contribute their thoughts on a
particular topic? Combat team members’ uncertainty by asking for their thoughts and attending to their ideas.
(Confidence is also an important trait of an entrepreneur. Read all of them here)
3) Learn from their messages
Talk show host Larry King once said, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” Now, ask yourself how can your team’s ideas contribute and add value to your current way of thinking about a challenge or opportunity?
4) Practice daily
Take the time at the end of the day to reflect on the things that you have heard that day and how you can improve your leadership through listening in future situations.
5) Create an Action Plan
Effective listening will encourage an abundance of fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Create a plan to put some of these into action and show your team you are listening.
Are you looking for more leadership resources? We are here to help. Click here to read about the leadership training services we provide.
Did you learn a lot about leadership listening in this post?
Here are three more posts to read next:
- Team Engagement – Simple Steps to Make Them Want to Help Your Business
- Sales Team Development: Five Critical Areas You Can’t-Miss
- Does Your Team Know How to Team?
This post was first published in 2014 but we updated it in 2021 just for you.