Great leadership is not about self-aggrandisement, not about ‘me and my ego’ but focuses on positive engagement with people. Great leaders are know how to listen to others in such a way that their team are inspired to come up with bold solutions-focused thinking. None of these are new concepts but how many executives and senior managers know how to put these fine principles into daily practice?
Leaders need to hone 3 core skills:
- Daily practice.
The ability to listen is a vital skill – one that becomes more important as you climb the corporate ladder –and many of us need guided practice to master the art of listening. Most people listen only to give their own opinion – or worse, interrupt. Constructive listening is a rigorous practice and means specifically creating the time for someone to think aloud in your presence. It means never interrupting. Interruptions not only inhibit thinking in others, but is a behaviour associated with low emotional intelligence. A good leader with a high EQ and focussed practice wants to become expert in the art of listening because of its powerful impact on those they lead.
Self-reflection should be a daily practice. As a leader, it is important to continuously hone self-awareness and identify personal (as opposed to professional and technical) areas of development. People often don’t realise that the real risk of stagnation and professionally limiting blind-spots occur when you stop working on your own personal development.
Growing yourself as a conscious leader doesn’t happen over night. It requires time and daily practice to create habits. In practical terms this means:
- Being open to feasible ideas and solutions other your own. This is the real litmus test of listening, because you will never be open to other ideas unless you truly listen.
- Being tuned into your own voice of judgment. Listen to yourself. Be aware of yourself in the moment. Choose better words to convey your sentiments. Use positive language even when giving critical feedback.
- Being five times more appreciative than critical – genuinely appreciative! Appreciation has been proven by neuroscience to generate more intelligent responses in children as well as adults. How often do you give an appreciation to those who you truly value – your partner or children, let alone your team members?
If you’d like to further develop your leadership skills and design a personalised process for how to get from where you are now as a leader, to where you want to be, get in touch.