The most underutilized leadership skill today is also the one that can have the most profound impact on culture and virtually every key measurement in business. This leadership skill is also the key to building great relationships – at work and at home. Mastering it can advance your career and make you more money…
What is the magical leadership skill? Listening. Yes. Listening.
According to statistics, only .38% of people in the world today are functionally deaf. That would then mean that 99.4 people out of a 100 can hear. However, most people don’t listen. I mean really listen.
When someone is talking, most of us are not actually listening to the other person. We are usually thinking about what we are going to say when the other person (finally) stops talking or when they pause to take a breath.
If they talk long enough, most of us will start thinking about other things like… I must stop and pick up bread and milk on the way home tonight.
Listening though – I mean really, really listening without thinking about what you are going to say or without judging – takes a tremendous amount of discipline, skill, and emotional intelligence:
For example, when you pay attention to what the other person is saying, you will find:
How does one achieve a state of really listening? Practice and hard work. However you are capable of it. Real listening is the art of getting into the ‘zone.’ The zone is a place where you hear only the person you are listening to and nothing else. You only see them and are not distracted by anything else. You have been in ‘the zone’ many times, like when you sit down in front of your TV and you lose track of time and your surroundings. The same state can happen when you practice real listening. The discipline comes from when you hear your thoughts drifting away to another thought while the person is talking, you simply remind yourself to come back and listen – nothing more.
Final thought… This takes work. However, once mastered, you will be rewarded greatly.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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