Crossing LeadershipTRAX

Want to Be a Leader? Learn to Listen

Posted by: jhersey in Leadership,

It has been proved. The best leaders are the ones who understood the super powerful truths in regards to trust:

- People do business with people they like.
- People like people they trust.
- People trust people who have a clear level of compassion and capacity.

Trust is not a matter of time but of level of caring. Once people feel you truly care about them, they start believing in you. The best way to show you care is by listening to them, truly listening.

A leader is one if he has followers; otherwise he is just a boss. No matter how many titles you hold, if your people don’t feel acknowledged and cared for, they won’t trust you, thus, they won’t follow you, and they will do the minimum. They will be waiting for you to fail, and they will even work to make you fail.

Most people don’t know how to listen, and it is not their fault. Yes, it isn’t. Experts agree that the first five years of a child’s life are the most productive in terms of learning, in those five years we learn more than we will ever learn during the rest of our lives. If during those five years a child doesn’t feel adults listen to him, he will not be a good listener himself. How can you learn to listen if no one ever taught you?

Here we arrive to the crucial point. Good listening is a skill that has to be learned; we are not born with it. People follow by example, thus, in order to create good listeners, we have to become one.

And how do we learn to listen? Pretty sure, not at a seminar. We have to work with what we have, and what we have is the capacity to make sure people feel heard. In order to do this, we have to be conscious about distractions and consciously avoid them. While an employee is sharing his ideas, you have to stop thinking about the size of his ears, and if you’re talking to a complaining customer, make a conscious effort not to focus on her eye tic. Yes, our minds tend to wander under any excuse.

Once you are able to avoid distractions, you have to learn to get rid of preconceptions. Stop believing that all blondes are stupid just because everyone says so, or that a certain employee is trying to steal your job. Normally people need just the right opportunity to start giving their opinion and sharing their experience as the solution to someone’s problem. Right there, the person doesn’t feel heard, he feels judged, and you have lost him. But what exactly did you do wrong? Well, you took away their uniqueness the minute you knew exactly what the problem was, prompting them to insist on showing you how special they are and making them resist your lead.

When people talk you are thinking about yourself and what you can do to help them help you. This is when you start convincing people instead of making them agree with you.

True leaders make people feel heard and feel special. They make others feel important, thus, they are important to those others. Once you start focusing on how people really feel about what they are expressing, you start caring for them much more, and suddenly, you become your best self… you become a leader.

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