Leaders tend to be solution- and action-oriented, and it’s no surprise. Operating a business or running a department is often an emotionally charged experience, especially as you become invested in the outcomes, processes, and people under your purview. But, moving too quickly can actually be harmful to your company, especially if your feelings about a matter affect your ability to listen.
Listening skills can actually separate the good leaders from the great ones. If you want to be a better leader, here’s what you need to know.
It Keeps You Informed
When you are working as part of the leadership team, you might not have the complete picture regarding how certain situations come to pass. When you find out about an issue, it is often because the incident has reached a critical mass and required some level of input or intervention.
However, jumping quickly into action might not be the wisest choice, especially if you don’t have all of the facts. By stopping to listen to those affected by the situation, you can fill in any knowledge gaps, allowing you to make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.
Similarly, listening to your team can help you make sure they have the proper tools and systems available to succeed. Often, you may make a request that seems simple on the surface but is much more involved once it gets into the hands of your employees. By stopping to listen to their needs, you can discover if there are any shortcomings that need to be addressed or potential barriers that must be overcome before the work actually begins.
It Can Diffuse Anger
It’s common to become frustrated when things don’t go according to plan, but responding in the moment using anger and inspiring fear isn’t the best way to get results. Often, leaders confuse these forceful responses with power and respect, but they can actually harm your reputation with your team.
Instead of reacting to the situation, taking the time to listen can help diffuse some of the tension everyone is experiencing. It allows the anger and frustration to pass, making it easier to work towards a positive outcome.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t be firm in your response once one is made. By taking the time to learn about the entirety of the situation and collect valuable input, you can ensure your actions are the right ones to make. It also doesn’t mean you can’t voice your displeasure, only that it should be done in a calm and controlled manner after you have all of the facts.
Listening gives you the ability to make better decisions and avoid hurting your relationship with your team in irreparable ways. By doing so, you set yourself up to be a more effective leader in your organization.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking to hire a new employee, the knowledgeable staff at MindFinders has the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us today to see how our customizable services can work for you.
Written by Tim Booker, President and CEO of MindFinders, with over 20 years of industry experience.