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Leading by listening

10 steps to become a good listener....

“You are not listening to me !!”
Have you ever said this statement before ?
I am sure you have - maybe to your spouse, your kids, your team members ??
And I am equally sure that you must have been on the receiving end as well
When someone says this to you “You are not listening to me !!”
Despite being physically present in the room, you are NOT listening !
Actually in such cases….
You are hearing, but NOT listening
There is a big distinction between the two – hearing v/s listening
Hearing is physical in nature
Listening is more emotional, more psychological
Listening is about filtering the noise to understand the signal
Listening is perhaps the most underrated communication skill. Yet, the most important I believe

Infact, some of the best conversations happen when you are silent
And this is relevant both at workplace and in your personal life as well
Whether you are leading teams or building a relationship
When people feel heard, they connect with you, they can trust you
Being an effective listener also means managing your emotions, managing your own urge to react immediately
Now more than ever, there is an acute need for leaders to evolve into powerful listeners
To create trust and safe space for people to express
So how can you become a better listener ?
How can you lead by listening ?
Here are 10 ways to becomes a powerful listener :
1. Listen with true intent. You want to
This is the key. Not just for the sake of it
Whether it is a 1-1 conversation with your team member or a conversation with your partner, make sure your intention to listen to them is genuine
2. Listen to understand. Not to react
In most cases, people simply want to be heard. They do not want you to respond immediately
3. Listen to what is said. Not what you want to hear
Many a times, you get into a conversation with a preconceived thought process. When that happens, you miss out on what is being said.
4. Be fully present. Physically, mentally and emotionally
No distractions. When you are present and paying full attention, powerful conversations can take place
5. Do not judge. Just open and honest conversation
When you start judging in the middle of a conversation, you stop listening as you end up creating strong filters.
6. Do not interrupt. Remember, it is NOT about you
When you interrupt, it breaks the chain of thought of the other person. It also sends a signal that you probably want to say more than you want to listen
7. Maintain eye contact. It shows that you are paying full attention to the other person
It shows them that you are there for them
8. Observe body language. Both your own as well as the other person
Involve all your senses when listening. Also notice what is happening in your body as the conversation flows
9. Mirror. Repeat. It shows you are attentive
This is a very powerful neurological practice. When you repeat something which you have just heard, it again sends a signal to the other person that you are paying attention
10. Be curious. Ask questions
Especially open-ended questions. It invites people to open up. Asking the right questions also indicates that you are genuinely interested in the conversation  
So next time around when you are having a conversation, try practicing these points to become a better listener so that….
..You can lead with empathy
..You can show that you care
..You can build trust and nurture relationships
..Or sometimes, listen to just be there for someone
Infact, do not just listen….
Make listening your SUPERPOWER !


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