Having a good mind for business and great ideas isn’t always what it takes to be the best leader and run a successful company.
One of the most important skills that any leader can learn is the art of listening.
When you’re rushed off your feet and have a million things to do, it can be easy to neglect your employees and not listen to them properly. You may shrug them off around the office, or just rush through conversations in order to move onto the next thing.
If you find yourself acting like this, it can really demotivate your employees and cause them to be unproductive.
Here are 4 of the most important listening skills that you should master to be a great leader in your company.
- Give employees your complete attention
When talking to anyone, it’s important to be able to give them your undivided attention, which can be hard to do when you have lots on your mind.
Work on your ability to focus on your employee and forget everything else. Mute your phone, take them into a meeting room to avoid distraction, and make eye contact while talking.
- Use the ‘mirroring’ technique
Mirroring is a technique that great listeners use when they ‘mirror’ the words and body language of the person they’re talking to to show they’re really paying attention.
For example you can repeat the issue that someone has raised, and ask if you’ve understood it properly.
You can also ask follow-up questions that relate to their issue to show that you understand.
- Develop empathy
Empathy is another important skill to develop, it’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
You may not be in the same position as the person you’re talking to, and you may not have ever found yourself having to deal with a similar situation, but if you’re able to ‘take a walk in their shoes’ and empathise with them, it will help your communication skills a lot.
Once you really understand their point of view, not only will it make it easier for you to listen to their problems, but it will also become easier to identify potential solutions.
- Don’t interrupt
One of the most important parts of listening to someone is actually listening, so don’t interrupt them when they are trying to speak.
Not only is it impolite to interrupt, but it also will make the person think that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say.