A good leader is one who has the ability to listen. A good husband also has that ability mastered. In all my years of helping couples relate to each other better, I have yet to have a wife tell me that she wishes her husband would give her more input. I have had quite a number of them say, I wish my husband was a better listener.
And so goes with leadership. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard someone say, “I just don’t feel heard.” I know there is the dynamic of some people thinking that unless you agree with them and implement what they are saying, that you are not hearing them. I am not talking about that. I am talking about the ability to listen, to hear where the other person is coming from and what they are trying to communicate.
I forget where I read this and I would love to give credit to whoever wrote it, but I can’t remember if it was in a book or on a blog. The statement went something like this. A good leader has the ability to listen well. Many other people do a lot of talking before they come up with something worthwhile to say. I hope that isn’t me.
As leaders, we need to focus on the art of listening. Yes, we need to learn how to communicate more effectively so that people can understand us. But the person who is consumed with trying to get others to understand where they are coming from usually doesn’t have time to listen to what the other person is saying.
Here is a litmus test. When someone is talking to you and you are answering them, or attempting to interrupt them so you can answer them before they are finished, you are probably not listening to the degree that you need to. Instead of trying to give answers, why not focus on trying to understand all that they are trying to say by asking good questions to draw them out even more. They will feel heard and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have a greater understanding of their heart and what they are trying to communicate.
After all, we all want to be heard. But unless someone is willing to listen, we all get frustrated.