Listening with Your Heart

28 08 2013

Are you listening with your Heart ?

by Ananya Das

Guess what is the first Rule of  Leading ? Authority ? Knowledge ? Sympathy ? Empathy ? Vision ?

No. All these are incorrect.  

The first rule of leading or managing is Listening. Not just hearing. Listening with a heart. Believe me, it is a really tough task! The true leader is a listener. The Leader listens to the ideas, needs, aspirations and wishes of the followers and responds to them appropriately and adequately within the boundaries of her own beliefs.

Leadership begins with listening. Usually we are so excited about speaking and expressing ourselves so explicitly that we do not even listen to the responses. When someone responds, our minds are so  busy and pre-occupied with our own thoughts that the inertia of motion of our thoughts overrides our listening capabilities. Inevitably, we miss out on vital clues inside the mind of our teams and this hampers the basic output or consequences.

These tips will help us improve our power of listening:

  • Stop Talking: You cannot listen when you are talking. You will only be thinking about what you are going to say next ! Try to focus your attention to the speaker.
  • Put them at ease:  Specially when  you are in a position of authority, put the speaker at ease. Smile. Look at the speaker.  Lean towards him. Look interested. Remove distractions.
  • Listen with your eyes: Research says that  55% of the message is nonverbal, 38% is conveyed by the tone of the voice and only 7% are conveyed by words.  So try to understand the true feelings behind the words.Listen for what is not being said. Usually people hesitate to speak the most crucial points!
  • Patience- Do not interrupt: Be polite and courteous and give ample time to the speaker to convey the full message. Interruption sometimes diverts the moot point.
  • Walk in their moccasins: Empathize. Sometimes just listening to the person helps him vent out his emotions. Remember , as a leader, you will not have ready-made solutions to all the problems.But just listening emphatically sometimes clears the clouds and the silver lining becomes visible !
  • Hold your own emotions at bay: When emotions are high, there is a tendency to become defensive or give unwarranted advice. So, hold your temper, do not argue. You will lose your credibility as a leader by doing so. Even if you win , you will lose !

I have been in many situations where just by virtue of listening, solutions to problems emerged, from the person himself who had come to speak to me. There have been  numerous instances when I could hold my emotion and kept quiet, but the other person cried and the tears made him lighter and he could face the situation in a better way.

Your team or followers should believe that you really want to listen. And when they say something you will feel it with your heart and take it in the right spirit. They should feel that their point of view is important to you.
It is in the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.

Open your eyes and  heart  to listen.  Ignite the leader in you !

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