Of all the skills needed for leadership excellence across Indiana, one is needed more than any other for success. It is the skill of listening. When everything balances, active listeners usually will make better decisions and solve problems more quickly; but listening is the hardest “soft” skill to master. In businesses today where there is constant communication, there are so many situations where the barriers to listening combine with prejudices to damage the accuracy of both messages and relationships.
We offer seven barriers and prejudices that will indeed affect business listening:
- Sound: Any background noise from others, a phone call, a disruption, even music will affect the accuracy and quality of the listening.
- Tiredness: When we are fatigued we listen with less accuracy.
- Boring person/ topic: This usually happens to us when we do not care for the person we are listening to or the topic itself lacks interest.
- “Shooting” the messenger: Poor first impression, paying attention to unusual mannerisms and judging personal appearance will negatively affect the quality of the listening.
- Disagreement: If something is said that deeply challenges our beliefs or opinions, we become so focused on a rebuttal that we forget to listen.
- Interruptions: Looking out the window, watching others and daydreaming stops listening in its tracks.
- Unwillingness to listen: We nod. We smile. But we are not listening. We want the conversation over with as soon as possible.
Leadership must truly focus on listening habits. When we actively listen, we understand more. Comprehension is essential. Listening for main ideas and asking a question when clarity is needed will greatly improve the discussion.
Leaders today must understand and evaluate every single situation and receive the collective message to improve what they are hearing. Much of listening depends on attitude. Listening is clearly a skill blended with interactive exchange. The next time listening is needed, be present for the discussion . The other person will really appreciate it.
In association with this article, click below for classes and additional information.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.
Photo Credit:imagerymajestic, freedigitalphotos.net