Leadership Skills # 1: Active Listening

  1. Understand the secrets of active listening
    1. Identify Key Points
    2. Consider the Source
    3. Slow Down
    4. Keep Yourself Honest
  2. What is not active listening
    1. Being Silent
    2. Demeaning self-esteem
    3. Listening is a Competition
    4. Not being Suggestive
  3. Active Listening Visual Cue Card

Understand the secrets of active listening

Identify Key Points

When in a conversation, it would be a good idea to create a mind map of notes by capturing detailed notes that can be used to ask questions. In addition to this note down key sights and issues via short-hand notes.

The approach compromises listening intently and focussing on follow-up questions on points that really matter. The direction of travel is to convey a probing, clarifying, and shaping of thoughts.

Consider the Source

This point is important when working with peers, in and across teams. The essence is in capturing the frame of reference and context [ where are they coming from ]. Try to truly understand the other person to drive productive solutions. the end outcome may not turn out to be from any one of the tabled options. A conversational environment will lead to more acceptable solutions.

Slow Down

It is important to slow down, and not act upon the information one already has. Replay thoughts back and ensure that both parties are clear on what was said.

Keep Yourself Honest

Try to find a mirror to reflect on your behavior, and find a colleague that can provide you with honest feedback. Importantly one needs to reflect on whether one understands what was said, the person’s point of view, the context, and emotion as well. Did you ensure that the person was heard and understood?

What is not active listening

Being Silent

Active listening is not being about silent but it is about periodically asking the right questions and gently challenging old assumptions. It is a two-way dialog rather than a one-way “speaker versus hearer” interaction.

Demeaning self-esteem

Do not through your conversations make people feel unsupported or perceived as having a negative experience. One needs to create a safe environment for things to be discussed openly.

Listening is a Competition

Poor listeners are seen as competitive and listen to identify errors in reasoning or logic. We are not looking for an excellent debater but to be perceived as a listener who is trying to help and not wanting to win an argument.

Not being Suggestive

It is important to be suggestive and identify the people who are active listeners as well as see how their suggestions can be put into action. Open alternative paths through conversations.

Active Listening Visual Cue Card

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