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The Many Benefits to Mastering Your Listening Skills

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The Many Benefits to Mastering Your Listening Skills

S.U.A.L

Of all the skills the best leaders possess, the most important one – in my opinion – is the ability to listen effectively.

When you listen effectively, you learn the right information. The right information is everything you, as the leader, need to properly assess a situation and in turn, make the right decision to get the right things done. Plus, listening effectively sends the message that “you care.”

Listening is a difficult skill to learn and master because it requires you to use your very best effort and focus to:

  • Sort through the clutter and emotion that often is associated with some conversations.
  • Ignore the distractions that are a part of all our days.
  • Eliminate all the unnecessary and unsolicited opinions of those involved.
  • Get the right facts.

There is an old expression “There are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth.” That sums up the challenges associated with being able to listen effectively.

A technique that I used to remind myself of the importance of listening was to write “S.U.A.L.” at the top of the page of my pad that I was using to take notes when in a meeting or 1-on-1 conversations. S.U.A.L. stood for “Shut UAnd Listen”. For me, it was a simple but important reminder that as the leader my job was to ask the best questions and carefully “listen” to the answers.

Related: Your People Are Watching You

There are many benefits to mastering your listening skills. Two important ones that come to mind are:

  1. You learn what customers and clients are saying about your products and services; what they like and want more of; what they dislike and what makes them happy.
  2. You learn from your team members what they think is important; what they believe they can do to be more productive; what changes they think should be made to improve your products and the overall customer service experience.

It doesn’t cost you a dime to learn how to listen better, but the rewards can create significant value for you, your team and your customers. Make the time to become a better listener – right now. Are you listening to me?

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