We know that developing people’s strengths, engaging them and creating a more productive workplace requires good direction. We also need to create an environment where people come up with their own solutions.
Hence, Peter Drucker said:
The Leader of the past was person who knew how to tell.
The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.
When we learn to ask we become even better at listening. How will better listening help you?
People will listen to you if you first show you are listening.
People may not always make sense to you, but pay attention or you may miss something that you, a) have in common, b) can actually work with.
Listen without creating responses in your head. Your ideas may make sense to you, but probably won’t work for the person you’re responding to.
By listening carefully to what’s difficult or unacceptable about what a person is saying, you can see where their diverse ideas might actually work.
The person may be keen to be told what to do. When you listen first, you will have better context to give instructions in ways that they will understand.
No one is a mind reader, If you first understand and acknowledge a person’s perspective, you’ll be able to better communicate yours.
If you assume a person has a good reason for saying something, that it makes sense to them, then you’ll be more able to help them find answers.
If you show you are listening constructively – paying attention, not thinking of your answer – you can speed up cooperation.
If you ask, ‘What’s working?’ (instead of asking about the problem), and ‘What else?’, it will motivate you to listen even more. It will also focus a person’s attention on their capabilities and the progress they have already made.
Good questions and good listening usually have a motivating effect. They lead to more awareness of what works and to new ideas for steps forward.
Want to know about the dangers of not listening? Here’s Ernesto Sirolli’s TED talk: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!
Want an solution focused interview tool to help you listen (even better than you already do so)!