A lot of people are so eager to prove they are clever, that they speak more than they listen. This is where extraordinary leaders differ. Leaders listen and watch more than they speak.
Sir Alex Ferguson talks about in the earliest pages of his book, “Leading”. Who doesn’t know Sir Alex Ferguson – the man behind the numerous and continuous wins for the Manchester United team. This man has shown superior leadership, with extremely good results.
He and many other leaders can not emphasize more on the importance of listening and watching. These are two things all must learn and practice, in order to gain more information, connect and excel.
- Pay attention. In conversations, words comprise only 7% of a message. The rest of the message is conveyed through the tone of voice (38%), while body language accounts a huge 55%. Learn to read body language. Don’t interrupt – when you speak, you stop listening.
- Pause before responding. Let the other person completely finish. Give time to digest what he just said. Also, pausing indicates to the other person that you do consider what he just said.
- Ask questions to clarify. Don’t make wrong assumptions, make sure what you heard was understood correctly. If something was misunderstood, questioning can correct it. Questioning also reassures the other person that you are listening.
- Step away from the hustle, and look at things from a bigger, higher point of view. You may notice the root cause of a particular problem – something that could not be seen when you too focused to the problem in front of you.
- Watching how people work. or communicate as a whole, can also give hints on how they are doing. There may be signs of a communication breakdown, or an unspoken issue, which can only be interpret through observations.
- Again, learn at least the basics of body language – what calls for defensive, openness, honesty, angry, lying. Body language tells you a lot about what’s going on.
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