Tag: Listening Skills

The Importance of Listening for Team Leaders

The Importance of Listening for Team Leaders

Do you consider yourself an effective listener? Team leaders can sometimes get so busy doing their own thing and trying to make things happen, that they stop paying attention to what is going on around them. It essential that team leaders slow down and pay greater attention to those around them. It is critical that team leaders not only listen to words, but also feelings, meanings and undercurrents.

Before leaders can have influence in their team members’ lives, they have to get to know them. The best way to get to know your team members better is by listening to them. The biggest percentage of management problems is due to faulty communication, and the majority of communication problems are due to poor listening. The two primary purposes for listening is to connect with people and to learn.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

People That Team Leaders Should be Listening To

Team Members Listening is more than mere interaction with your team members. You should take the time to get a feel for who each team member as a person. Do not just listen to the facts, change you focus and really listen.

Clients Team leaders should guard against getting so caught up in their ideas that they never hear their customers’ complaints, concerns, and suggestions. Although unhappy customers are always a concern, they can be your greatest opportunity. Effective leaders make it a priority to keep in contact with the people they are serving.

Competitors Leaders should not be so focused on building their own case that they cannot learn from what their competitors are doing. Leaders learn from their competitors by listening. Although they should not base their action on what the competition is doing, leaders can learn what they can from them to improve themselves.

Mentors No team leader is so advanced that they cannot be without a mentor. It is always beneficial to learn from leaders that have more experience than you have. If you do not have a mentor, try and find one. If you cannot find somebody to help you in person, begin the process by reading books.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

How Team Leaders Can Improve Their Listening Skills

Change Your Schedule Do you spend time listening to your followers, customers, competitors and mentors? It is essential for the team leader to have all four groups on their calendar regularly.

Meet Each Team Member Where They Are Effective listeners always find common ground with their other team members. When you meet with one of your team members, discipline yourself to ask four or five questions about them as a person. Build connections by seeking common ground and getting to know your team members.

Listen Between the Lines Although team leaders should always pay attention to the factual content of a conversation, they must not ignore the emotional content. Often you learn more about what is really going on by reading between the lines.

Resource: The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader

 

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How Team Leaders Can Improve Their Listening Skills

How Team Leaders Can Improve Their Listening Skills

Listening is one of the most essential components of communication. In this article, we will be looking at some of the ways that team leaders can improve their listening skills.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Seven Ways to Become a Better Listener

  1. Don’t talk on the phone, text message, clean your desk, or do anything else when you are listening to a team member.
  2. When you are busy listening to a team member, avoid interruptions of any kind.
  3. Try to spend 90% of your time listening and less than 10% of your time talking.
  4. When you have to talk, make sure it is related to what the team member is saying. Use questions to clarify, expand and probe for more information.
  5. Only offer advice when the team member asks for it.
  6. Make sure the physical environment is conducive to listening.
  7. If the conversation is of such a nature that you are required to take notes, try to not let the note-taking disturb the flow of the conversation.

Active Listening

In order to listen effectively team leaders have to listen actively. The following are the three basic components of active listening.

  1. Identify where the team member is coming from. This concept is also called the frame of reference.
  2. Listen carefully and attentively to what the team member is saying.
  3. Respond appropriately to the team member, either non-verbally, with a question or by paraphrasing.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Sending Good Signals to Your Team

When you are listening to your team, there are three kinds of cues that you give them. To communicate effectively with your team it is essential to use the right cue at the right time.

  • Non-Verbal: Body language forms an essential part of communication. Show the team member you are listening through head nods and facial expressions.
  • Quasi-Verbal: Use filler words like,”uh-huh,” and “mm-hmm,” and show the team member that you are interested in the conversation.
  • Verbal: Asking open questions, paraphrasing, and asking summary questions, are all essential tools for active listening.

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