Have you ever been in a room with a Manager who was asking about your job or welfare and you could just tell they didn’t really care about what your answer was?

Did this inspire you?

If that is the kind of leader, you don’t want to be; then essential listening skills will be central to your success.

Why leaders need to listen

Becoming a better listener can make you a more effective leader in whatever leadership role you are in and help you avoid becoming like the uninspiring boss above. Whether you’re listening to your children recount their days at school or in a meeting receiving feedback from your employees, it’s important that you listen carefully and become more mindful at reading between the lines. It might just help you stop an issue becoming a problem.

As a leader, it’s not always easy to know what our staff are thinking. They seem to hold back about concerns and problems because they don’t want the leader to think them a complainer or that they have a bad attitude. But, the leader who can listen clearly can develop relationships of trust and let others know their best interests are significant.

It is not only words that speak

One of the ways a sincere leader can listen is by learning body language, being able to discern moods, facial expressions and knowing behavioural issues. An effective listener can easily identify changes in a person’s demeanour and whether or not they’re truly engaged in their work. They know instinctively how to turn negativity around and create a more positive and thriving atmosphere.

If you’re a good listener, you will also develop compassion and empathy for those who look up to you as a leader. Someone in your team may have issues at home or other personal problems that cause their performance or attitude at work to suffer. They may not want to reveal personal problems to you because they feel it might lower your perception of them and hurt their work reviews, promotions or other rewards.

You won’t often see “good listener” as a requirement in a job description, but it’s a good trait to bring up during the interview. A skilful Human Resources person or interviewer will recognise that listening is a significant quality for a future leader in their company or organisation.

Gaining leadership momentum

One way to become an effective listener is to show that you care about your team. They will be much more likely to come to you with problems and alert you to possible ramifications that may happen to the team and your goals if a problem isn’t solved.

Aligning yourself with your employees also helps you become a good leader. By engaging yourself in matters that concern employees and letting them know that you’ll be there during personal or professional hardships, you’ll be setting yourself up to know and understand what matters most.

Being the boss you want to be

Hopefully, these points will give you food for thought and help you not to be one of those bosses who looks out the window rather than focusing on the welfare of the person who is depending on you to support their future potential.