As I went on with my day, I thought a lot about that conversation and the many clients I’ve worked with over the years who have focused on improving their listening skills. At this point, we’ve had about 500 clients who have been the subject of our Next Level Success Factor 360 survey. A number of the items in the survey deal with listening. The one that has turned out to be the canary in the coal mine that signals a client needs to focus on listening as a key component of their leadership presence is:
- Contributes to creating an environment in which everyone is comfortable engaging in open and honest dialogue.
- Genuinely listens to others without dominating the conversation.
- Demonstrates an understanding of the impact of his/her comments on the morale of the organization and makes appropriate choices.
- Seeks to understand others’ points of view and goals by asking open ended questions.
What’s your experience with listening and talking? What have you learned and changed along the way on this front as you’ve developed as a leader? What’s your best advice for anyone who’s working on getting better at one of these three key behaviors?