Posts from — June 2010
Photo by jurvetson
When people think of effective leadership qualities, they tend to think of powerful voices, relentless ambition, and high intelligence.
And they would be right to do so because undoubtedly, leaders who possess those traits are effective indeed. Yet, something that is often overlooked during discussions of what makes a good leader is the capability of a leader to listen to his or her team members.
Being a good listener is not something many people immediately associate with leadership.
After all, we do not remember the likes of Queen Elizabeth I of England because she was a good listener – however, there is strong evidence of her reliance on the counsel of her advisers.
Listening skills were important to leadership back in the 1500s, and those same skills are still important today, even if you are not the ruler of an empire, but rather of a business team.
The team members of leaders can generate great ideas and bring important oversights into the light. One leader may be capable of managing many aspects of a project, but he or she cannot possibly keep up with everything that a project covers.
However, the many people involved with a project are capable of keeping an eye out on all of the various things that need to be addressed.
If you are a leader, listening to your team members can help you to learn important things that can improve your project or make its completion more efficient.
However, simply demanding that your team talk to you while you sit back and soak it all in is not enough. You have to also listen in a way that puts your team members at ease.
This means that you should never talk in a condescending manner or insult any points that a team member may bring up. That does not mean that you have to heed the advice of your team, either; it just means that you have to take the time to hear it.
It is inescapable that you may be subjected to faulty ideas or complaints brought up by some people working with you, but do not react in a brash way.
Instead, hear the person out and nod every so often to show that you are paying attention to what is being said. After the person has finished presenting his or her case, calmly explain the reasons why you disagree with him or her.
By doing this, not only will you prevent having team members loathe working with you, but you will also show your team that you respect their opinions, even if you do not agree with them.
In showing that you respect your team, your team will be quick to respect you in return. A team that respects its leader is far more willing to work harder and more diligently than one that does not respects its leader. In this regard, taking the time to cultivate your listening skills is a worthwhile effort.
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June 25, 2010 1 Comment