The Power of Active Listening

13 Jul 15

In order to be a truly great leader, you must develop the skills to become not only a great listener but an active listener too. Active listening allows you to understand the ideas, opinions and feelings of others and actively demonstrate that you’ve done so. It’s a great mentoring practice that sees a change in your state of mind and your focus.

Active listening means showing the speaker you’re giving your full attention, which does wonders for people. Here are our five top tips for making your team members feel understood whilst offering them the opportunity to express themselves more clearly and concisely:

  • Give Your Full Attention – What do you like about what I do (skills, knowledge, attitudes, behaviours)?
  • Reflect Data Contact – Reflect back ideas and phrases as you hear them (E.g. “Can I check I have understood these points?”)
  • Reflect Feelings – Sometimes you will be aware of the feelings behind ideas and thoughts, by reflecting these back, you are checking your perceptions are accurate. (E.g. “You sound angry about that”)
  • Summarise – Summarising what you’ve heard will help you both to review where you’ve got to and check that you have a mutual understanding.
  • Interpret – You may want to demonstrate that you are grasping the speakers’ ideas and feelings (E.g. “So it sounds like what you’re saying is…”). This can be useful in building rapport or highlighting inconsistencies.

Remember that giving your focus and attention allows others the opportunity to correct misunderstandings, share relevant information and explore ideas. Use your own sense of timing and what fits the situation as your guide. Establish a good mentoring relationship by using active listening to demonstrate that you’ve followed up on views, thoughts and feelings.


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