Q: Why is listening an important quality for leadership?
A: Listening is the foundational skill that all other leadership skills build from. Listening is understanding what the other person is saying so that you might guess how they are feeling about an issue.
Listening one-on-one allows understanding of what the other person is feeling. Leaders who are confronted with an opinion different than theirs explore it from the mindset that maybe they are wrong and the other person is right. People who feel heard are more apt to share their thinking and then to support decisions even if they didn’t go their way.
Listening in meetings makes it OK for everyone to speak up, including those with outlying and opposing positions. This allows leaders to know what the entire team knows, see what the entire team sees, and also results in everyone feeling valued.
Here’s a way to practice listening: take something that you find difficult to listen to, and listen to it intently. I use the the flight attendants’ safety brief because I fly so much – and listen to that!
Here’s a Leadership Nudge I did with Simon Sinek about listening Leadership Nudge® 145 – Listen Like A Leader