Many leaders forget that communication is a two-way street. They have the talking part down, but it’s the listening part that gets difficult. Listening is an important skill for everyone, especially leaders, but we aren’t trained to be listeners. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re in a conversation with your team to be a better listener.

What Is Your Listening Style?

Think about how you go into a conversation with another person. Do you think you know what the other person is going to say? Do you try and solve what you think is the problem? Do you have to be right? Do you finish the other person’s comments, because you’re in a hurry? Do you listen to while doing other things? Good listening means that you really hear what the other person is saying.

Focus on Understanding

Listening doesn’t only involve what is said. You must pay attention to body language and subtext. When you focus on your response, you may miss key details. If you want to be right, you’re going to miss out on what is being communicated. Give the other person your full attention. If you need time to decide how to respond, ask for it instead of thinking about your response while the person is still speaking.

Don’t Control the Outcome

Good listening means that you may have to take criticism or hear some harsh statements. Don’t assume that the other person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Good listening can be difficult, but leaders who take the time to ask questions and listen to learn can find out a lot that will help the business. Plus, employees who feel like you’re listening because you care instead of simple politeness will be more engaged with your business.

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