Some leaders consider listening a soft skill (maybe even overrated), others may consider themselves good listeners, and some know it’s a skill they need to work on. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, one thing is certain: a big part of your job right now is to listen.
Part of what’s changed as we all live through the COVID-19 outbreak and civil unrest is the urgent need for leaders to listen to their employees and understand the challenges they face as they deal with today’s uncertain and ever-changing situation.
Listening is One of the Most Important Things You Can Do Right Now
Listening is one of the most important things you can do right now. It’s a sign of respect to the person you’re communicating with, and the better we listen, the better we can understand one another.
When listening is done well and genuinely,
we understand one another better as people.
The better you listen to others; the better they will listen to you.
The better you listen, the more information and insights you can gather that are useful to guide how you work with colleagues, or lead productive and purposeful conversations with your team.
The better you listen today, the more you will learn about your employees’ needs, concerns and worries, which will allow you to empathize and support them. When employees feel heard and their needs are acknowledged and addressed, they are more likely to feel like they are part of an inclusive team that welcomes their unique experiences and provides a safe place to share their perspectives openly.
The 4 Most Common Barriers to Effective Listening
Here are some common barriers that can get in the way of genuinely listening. Think about which of these you might need to be more aware of for yourself:
- Thinking more about what you’re saying than on what you’re hearing.
- Deciding what you’re going to say next before the person you’re talking with finishes what they’re saying.
- Putting a higher priority on what you’re saying than the person you’re talking with.
- Finally, not working at listening. Working on your listening skills will help you meet your people’s needs. Who is struggling? Who might need some time off to process everything that is going on?
Which of these barriers – when addressed – can have the greatest positive impact on your ability to better meet your employees’ needs during these trying times?—David Grossman
Leaders: Don't ignore it. Click below to get strategies to help you check in and empathize with your people today about the ongoing civil unrest.