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Listening is the Most Important skill a Leader can have

Source | | BRIGETTE

Listening is the most important skill a leader can master. It is the basis of so many other skills and traits that make up a leader. However, it is a tough skill to master as it requires us to be more present, attentive, engaged, open and flexible. Good listening skills in this digital era, due to information overload and shortened attention span, is fast becoming an endangered species. Listening involves paying and making nonverbal cues, appropriate to what is being said.

Many of us are guilty of starting a conversation and putting a thought or question out there, but we don’t give ourselves a chance to listen to what others have to say because we never stop talking, or we are so busy formulating our reply to what we assume they will say. Don’t just listen with the outer ear but with the inner ear. Listen with the intent to hear and understand.

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter Drucker

Listening forms the foundation of good relationships. Why? Because it shows you care. Empathy and listening go hand in hand. You can’t display empathy or emotional intelligence if you do not listen. The quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence. Employees want to be heard and they want to be respected. Listening transmits that kind of respect and builds trust. This leads to more motivated and committed team members.

On average, we retain just 25 percent of what we hear, which is because of our busyness and lack of listening skills. What is your speaking to listening ratio? Listening is crucial to gaining a complete understanding of situations. Without this full understanding, one can easily waste everyone’s time by solving the wrong problem or merely addressing a symptom, not the root cause.

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