Working on your listening skills to retain relevance in your group, leadership requires compassion and understanding
With everyone on their toes because of the pandemic’s uncertainty, tight-knit teams are now more important than ever in running a business or an organization, and a strong leader is integral to maintaining these qualities within a group.
If a leader is unable to listen, or simply refuses to because they believe they know best, the entire group suffers, and eventually brings on the leader’s downfall through alienation, and ultimately ex-communication from the group.
If you’re having trouble listening to yourself, you should think it akin to deep breathing, as you have to put in a certain amount of work to speak, you have to apply the same effort to give another point of view a chance.
For some people, not listening to others is simply a way of life, and they may have even gone through their entire lives without ever reflecting on their flaws or virtues because they believe they know best.
These people are unable to listen because they never actually put in the effort to do so, and listening without understanding the person is a complete waste of time.
If you’re unable to reflect on yourself, you won’t be a leader for much longer, and soon you’ll find yourself thrown back into obscurity until you’re able to understand that while your idea may be the right one, someone else is still able to improve on it.
Eye contact goes a long way
Of course, this doesn’t only apply to the leader of the group, and should instead apply to all members, so make sure to set the right example for all the others, by making sure everyone knows you’re paying attention and giving each idea at least a chance.
Taking a pen, or writing notes down on your laptop is one way to do it, but make sure you’re maintaining eye contact and returning to previous points in the conversation to convey you’re really trying to understand the concept you’re being presented with.
A listening leader can also help identify other members of the group that lack these crucial conversational skills, and through sanctions and in extreme cases removed from the group, maintain group cohesiveness.
The Power of Respectful Listening: Gaining Insight, Strengthening Relationships, and Achieving Success in Teams
Finally, when listening to others, the most important aspect is respect, and when done right, it helps you create more desirable outcomes for yourself or your group as people will be more likely to align with your team on a joint effort.
On the other hand, if someone feels unheard, they might stop caring about the team’s success entirely, and this hurts the team’s workflow and dynamic immensely.
When listening to others you also find out what it’s truly like to be heard, and this is important because you put yourself in your team’s shoes, and it finally makes sense why no one was listening to you all this time while you were droning on about how educated you are on the topic.
Sometimes though, it’s hard to find the time to truly listen, so try and squeeze in a bit of time to pause and show intent to understand others and their perspective when you’re being addressed.