Strong leaders need several important qualities to help them inspire and motivate their teams. The ability to effectively listen is likely most important. Why is is so important for leaders to acquire and maintain this skill? Read on to find out 🙂
Leadership is about leading a group and providing them with direction, solutions and motivation. However, people in positions of power also need to know how to take suggestions from other individuals. Whether it’s at a job, for a sports team or in another environment, one person alone is usually unable to stand alone on every task. Instead, leaders can and should listen to the suggestions that teammates have. This will create a sense of unity among the team, promote new products to customers and more.
Of course, listening to criticism is difficult for anyone, but doing so is very important for a leader. While constantly critiquing leaders might lead to trouble for employees, students or team members, they should be able to express their concerns. For example, let’s say that a new policy in the workplace isn’t working for you. Customers are verbally expressing their concerns with the procedure, and business seems to be suffering as a result. When employees bring these concerns to the leader, they should never be scoffed at. Leaders needs to realize that cause for concern exists among those who matter more than anyone else!
Leaders also need to pay attention to what is happening in the world beyond their organization. Let’s consider an educational example. Say you are the head of an academic program at a community college. Other schools in the area are intensifying their science and mathematics programs, but your peers at home don’t want to hear about it, because your system seems to be working. Well, without evaluating whether this is truly the case, this could lead your school to fall behind. This is why it’s your duty as a leader to fight insularity – it never leads to anything good.
Listening is a surprising but sensible tool for showing respect. Indeed, followers are supposed to respect their leaders, but the reverse needs to be true as well. If employers (or other kinds of subordinates, of course) feel as though they’re being respected, they’ll be much more willing to work harder for communal goals. If a leader never listens to the people who are a part of his or her team, they simply aren’t going to feel respected. This means that actions necessary, rather than words, and it’s your responsibility to prove to your employees that you respect them!
Lana Martinez is a life coach that writes about self-help, leadership and personal growth. Her recent work is on the best online counseling degrees in the US.