One of my favorite things to talk about is transformational leadership—and the more I coach and present on this topic, the more I become convinced in the centrality of active listening.
Here’s why: To be a true transformational leader—an agent of change at your company—you’ve got to constantly be open to ways things could be improved, problems that need to be solved, efficiencies that might be enhanced and increased.
The only way you can do that is to keep your ear to the ground; the people who work around you know what’s going on and will often spot issues and opportunities before
you do. But the only way you can benefit from their insight is to listen, to really hear them when they share feedback.
Become a Better Listener Today
With all of that said, let me ask you point blank: Are you good at active listening? Or could you stand some improvement?
It’s not as hard as you might think to become a good listener. It just takes some effort. Start right now. Get up from your desk or leave your office and walk over to one of your team members. Ask them an open-ended question and listen to what they have to say.
Make it your goal to find out something about them you didn’t know before. You might ask something as basic as what they did over the weekend, or what they like to do with their kids, or where they met their spouse.
Now comes the crucial part: After the team member answers, ask two additional follow-up questions—before you declare anything about yourself.
Honing Your Active Listening Skills
Sound simple? Well, guess what: This is basically what active listening is—and the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it. Once you become a little more comfortable with it, that’s when you’ll be able to start asking questions about the company; to truly hear what your team members tell you; and to make it clear to them that you are really listening.
Active listening is a skill that all transformational leaders should hone—and if you have any more questions about it, I’d love to hear them! Reach out to me directly!