Just out of interest, do you know what your employees would say about your listening and empathy skills if they were asked?
Listening and empathy are the foundations of all our conversations and verbal communication. If you want to bring the best out in your employees, then people need to know that you care and they are being listened to. One of the best ways to demonstrate that you care is through your listening and empathy skills.
Harvard Business Review in Leadership is a Conversation state that:
“Leaders who take organizational conversation seriously know when to stop talking and start listening”.
When I talk about the importance of listening and empathy in my workshops people often become dismissive. I often get comments like “Let’s face it everyone knows we need to listen I covered it in my MBA”.
Research tells us that one of the most common reasons why people disengage in workplaces is because they don’t feel that they are listened to. If we deconstruct this further it is often connected with not feeling valued and appreciated.
We can have the best of intentions with listening and empathy and at the same time have huge blind spots and be unaware of our own skills. My question again is “what would your employees say about your listening and empathy skills?”
The first step in developing or improving our listening and empathy skills is self-awareness.
I am a big fan of Marshall Goldsmith because he uses “Did I” questions after every day to hold himself accountable. I have developed a short reflective questionnaire using the “Did I” questions below.
- Did I demonstrate that I care as a leader today?
- Did I stop and listen to other people today?
- Did I listen to their perspective without judging them?
- Did I try and put yourself in their shoes?
- Did I create an environment where people feel safe to ask you questions?
- Did I give people time to clarify and problem solve?
- Did I give people time to find their own solutions or did I jump in too quickly and try and fix it?
- Did I find myself getting frustrated and annoyed when people asked questions?
- Did I find myself becoming defensive when people gave me feedback?
- Did I feel under pressure to come up with all the solutions because I am the leader?
One of the biggest blind spots for leaders is that they stop listening and surround themselves with like-minded people who tell them what they want to hear rather than give them honest feedback.
Are you aware of your blind spots when it comes to listening and empathy?
If your interested in developing your leaderships skills come along to the Pilbara Women In Leadership Masterclass in Karratha or Port Hedland.