The number one skill an effective leader should learn is the ability to listen. And… I mean actually listen, versus simply thinking about what you are going to say next!
Actually listening is one of the hardest skills to learn as a human being let alone as an effective leader! Actually listening involves learning how to tune out absolutely everything except the words the other person is saying. Liam Forde, who leads an organization based in Auckland, New Zealand called The Zone, taught me a listening method called “getting into the zone.”
What is ‘the zone?’ Think of it this way… When you are watching your very favorite TV show or a movie in a theater, there could be all sorts of things going on around you and, if you are like me, you don’t even notice. Wife talking to you? Don’t notice. Dog barking? Don’t notice. That is being in ’the zone.’
To get into the zone when someone is talking to you, you have to consciously set your mind into the mode that you going to listen and push out all other thoughts that come your way (i.e. things like…Bread, I need to stop and pick up bread tonight on the way home…). Your mind may wander, however, you have the power to bring it back to listening – avoiding the temptation to think about what you are going to say next, etc.
Getting into ‘the zone’ is powerful. The amazing benefit is a deep understanding of the other person, connection and trust of you—the listener—by the speaker.
I am not going to kid you. This is hard. It takes work and discipline. It takes the dedication of a martial arts master to learn. Once learned though, it will open your eyes (and mind) to some amazing discoveries and help you become an effective leader.
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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