One aspect of leadership is listening to your colleagues, bosses and clients. Avoid pitfalls to make sure you’re really listening when people are talking to you.
- Are you an evaluative listener? Do you listen to either agree or disagree with the speaker? This can cause you to miss out on key information. Remember to listen to the entirety of what someone is saying before you make a decision to agree or disagree.
- Do you listen for self-protection or preservation?
Sometimes, it’s easy to only want to hear your own side of the story. You forget to listen to an objective point-of-view. Don’t get so wrapped in your own version that you can’t hear others.
- Do you listen and think you know what the other person will say? It’s called assumptive listening. Maybe, you’re in a hurry to end the conversation or you have history with the problem. Set aside your own agenda and let the other person have time to express their needs.
- Are you judgmental while listening? Good leadership means that you give the other person your attention without criticizing what they’re saying. If you have a bad history with someone or just don’t like them, you might shut them down in your mind without giving them a chance.
- Maybe you’re an affirmative listener. Sometimes, you get into a pattern where you simply agree with the speaker, rather than take the time to critically think through what they’re saying.
- Don’t go on the defensive. If you find yourself saying “yeah, but” to anything the speaker says, you might be listening defensively or taking everything they say as a personal attack.
- Do you always have to be right?
Authoritative leaders don’t listen because they think they know-it-all. Instead of listening, they tell you what you “should” be doing.
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