Leadership Skill: The Power of Listening – Part 2

Ineffective leaders love to run their mouths but fail to use their ears. They talk and talk and talk but never take the time to listen. They make decisions and give instructions but fail to stop and pay attention to the people they lead and seek to serve and to what’s happening around them.

Of course, making decisions and giving instructions are an essential part of a leader’s responsibility. However, these are not the leader’s only responsibilities. Among other things, leaders must stay in touch with the people they seek to influence. And this requires listening.

This inability to listen to others places these leaders at a severe disadvantage. With time, these leaders get disconnected with the reality of their team, their clients, and their market.

Effective leaders appreciate the value of receiving feedback from others. They recognize that the insights they gain from others’ perspective help them lead better. Thus, they proactively seek the input of others and establish lines of communication with various stakeholders (e.g., their team and clients) and ensure those lines remain open.

For this to work, it demands that leaders keep an open mind and remain receptive to the feedback they receive.

It’s the leader’s responsibility to create a climate where people feel empowered to give the best of their perspective. Leaders must strive to foster an environment where people can tell the truth without worrying about reprisals from the leader. People should feel they can share without fearing ostracization and being negatively labeled.

For instance, if a leader gets defensive every time a team member points out a gap in the organization, it won’t take long before team members shut off and keep their valuable feedback to themselves (or among themselves).

Of course, this assumes that the feedback is given respectfully and with the intent of helping the team and the organization (not attack and discredit the leader). When people go out of line (e.g., are disrespectful), they should be corrected.

Receiving feedback isn’t always easy. Sometimes, the feedback touches on issues that are uncomfortable, and the people providing the feedback don’t always mince their words and say things the leader may not want to hear. But if they are true, the leader must muster the courage to listen to it—because knowing the truth is essential to effective leadership.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.