If you want to be an effective leader, learn how to listen

Charismatic leaders are like magnets, attracting people to them. But maybe their charisma is not based on what we think it is. The myth of a charismatic leader is someone who is inspiring on the podium, commands the room, and enjoys speaking. But when people describe charismatic leaders they have met, it’s their ability to listen that stands out. ‘It’s like you are the only person in the world when you are talking with them,’ they say. 

We have all met the other type of leader. You know the one who can talk under water and who loves nothing better than the sound of their own voice. Even if they do ask you a question, they turn your response into an opportunity to expound on their views on the topic. They are immune from other’s views, so they don’t seek feedback.

But Zenger Folkman’s research found that leaders with a preference for listening, and listening before talking, are more effective on 13 of 16 important leadership competencies. 

Zenger Folkman compiled a few tips about how to be an effective listener because many leaders don’t know how to listen. 

✴️ When you have something important you want to say, wait for the optimum time. 

✴️ Having a good thought is important; injecting it at exactly the right moment can be important as well.

✴️ Ask good questions. 

✴️ Be a trampoline, not a sponge.

✴️ Ask for feedback from others. 

✴️ Be curious.

✴️ Be aware of what your face is saying. 

Dale Carnegie summed it up decades ago in his timeless book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “To be interesting, be interested,” he said.

🙋‍♀️ Is there something you would add to this list of how to be an effective listener? 🙋

Best regards, Brian

PS: Get in touch if you would like to explore how coaching could help you develop your listening skills.