In Paris, the city I call home🗼, I’ve had the pleasure to spend a few days with my visiting brother, his wife, and their 5-year-old super-observant son.
During our leisurely strolls, my usually bubbly nephew would occasionally have a mini outburst at his folks.
Little feet stomping. Voice pitching higher. And it wasn’t about wanting another toy or ice-cream.
It was because his loving parents responded practically, instead of tuning into his little, big emotions, with a bit of heart.
The mini outbursts were his way of saying “Hey, listen to me! Feel what I’m feeling.”
That’s not just the kids.
We all want that nod, that “I get you” moment. The core of effective communication revolves around this timeless desire: to be heard, understood, and met with genuine empathy.
That’s why #activelistening is fundamental to almost every leadership and professional scenario that involves people and understanding their perspectives and emotions.
In fact, the more senior your position, the more your technical skills are taken as a given. It becomes predominantly about your ability to lead and motivate others — a feat nearly impossible without being an exceptional listener.
Here are some key situations where active listening is crucial:
- Conflict Resolution: Understanding the root causes of disagreements or disputes requires careful listening to each party’s perspectives.
- Feedback Sessions: Whether giving or receiving feedback, understanding nuances can make the difference between constructive criticism and a demoralized team member.
- Team Meetings: Listening actively can help in catching details that might be missed otherwise and ensures that everyone feels heard.
- Strategic Planning: Understanding insights from various departments or team members can lead to a more comprehensive and effective strategy.
- Employee Onboarding: New hires may have concerns or questions. Actively listening can help in addressing them effectively and ensuring a smooth integration.
- Negotiations: In high-stakes business deals, picking up on non-verbal cues and between-the-lines information can be as crucial as the main points of discussion.
- Performance Reviews: Active listening can help in understanding an employee’s perspective, challenges, and aspirations.
- Crisis Management: During a crisis, being able to listen and quickly understand the nuances of a situation can be pivotal in making effective decisions.
- Client Relationships: To maintain and grow client relationships, it’s essential to truly understand their needs, concerns, and feedback.
- Coaching and Mentoring: As a mentor or coach, understanding the unique challenges and aspirations of the mentee is key to offering valuable guidance.
- Innovation and Brainstorming Sessions: New ideas often come with nuances and details that can be missed if not listened to carefully.
- Change Management: When introducing change, leaders need to understand and address the concerns and feedback of their teams.
Lastly, here’re my top tips for improving your listening skills:
1️⃣ Manage your Ego and emotional triggers: it’s not about you, it’s about the other person’s perspective and experience.
2️⃣ Slow down: see every interaction as a gift, as a chance to learn something new.
3️⃣ Dig deeper: the words are the surface. Try to understand what the speaker may be feeling. What’s the emotion underneath their message?
4️⃣ Empathy starts and ends with self-compassion. How’s your self-talk: are you critical or understanding towards yourself?
5️⃣ To be fully present with people at work and home, learn to manage your stress as soon as you can. Meditation is the key. 🧘
What about you? Do you listen deeply, to fully understand? Or do you jump in with your opinion or to give advice? Share your thoughts with me below 👇.
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