THE VALUE OF LISTENING
In our work and family culture today due to many rapid changes, there are great deal of challenges that one faces.
Leaders in the work place face many challenges. One of the biggest complaints I keep hearing employees say is “My boss does not listen to me.
There is one thing for sure we all have to understand; there is a huge difference between hearing and truly listening. As leaders, this is a skill worth having to get the best out of our teams. John C Maxwell says; to connect to other hearts, use your ears.
Let’s talk about this for sometime. What is the difference between Hearing and listening? As defined by Jack Canfield, Hearing is simply receiving communication and Listening is the art of paying thoughtful attention with a mind towards understanding the complete message being delivered.
Listening requires maintaining eye contact, watching the person’s body language, asking for clarification and listening to the unspoken language.
It is therefore very important that we leaders understand the term active listening to help bring out fairness therefore creating important hallmarks in leadership and qualities of good relationships.
Woodrow Wilson (American president) says; the ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.
Many times people are not given the chance to really empty their feelings, suggestions, questions and viewpoints. A good leader always encourages followers to tell him what he needs to know, not what he wants to hear.
There is great advice from Marcia Martin an executive coach for all leaders.
Start a meeting with just one sentence, “The purpose of the meeting is to find out from you what you feel is going on in each of your departments, what you feel your breakdowns are, and what you need from me. Then be quite and listen; let them talk. Keep asking, what else? Then let them talk more.
The ability of listening is a chief characteristic of life. Peter Drucker the father of American management notes that, 60% of all management problems are a result of faulty communication. In other words the over whelming majority of communication problems comes from poor listening.
Keep your ears open to your customers, your competitors and your mentors. This will not only create fewer arguments, but it will create more interest in the people you deal with. One other way we fail to listen carefully is being too concerned and interested in ourselves rather than being interested in person we are listening to. Win people over to your side by being interested in them and learning about them.
When the person learns that you are truly interested in them in getting to know them by listening with an intention, they will open up to you and share their true feelings with you much easier.
As leaders, we should develop the attitude of curiosity towards others. Understand what they feel, how they think, and how they see the world. There hopes and dreams, their fears, their aspirations. What are the obstacles in their lives…
People can’t listen until they have been heard. They need to get whatever is bothering them off there chests. You need to first let the other people speak about their needs and wants, hopes and dreams fears and concerns, hurts and pains before you talk about yours. This will open up a space inside of them to be able to listen and to take in what you have to say.
An unknown source says, Listen a hundred times. Ponder a thousand times. Speak once. The only way to find out what you are missing is to start listening.