What makes a good leader? There are many possible answers to this question, but a good leader who is a good listener has the potential to be a great leader.
Listening and Leadership
When leaders do all the talking, they miss out on valuable input. They don’t know why employees might be unhappy, what ideas employees might have, or what they need to do their jobs better. Leaders who listen know all this – and more. Listening shows that a leader cares, and that’s a big deal. When a leader cares about employees, it makes a difference: The employees tend to work harder and aim to exceed … expectations.
There’s more to it than that, though. If a leader doesn’t have all of this information, it’s difficult to figure out where to go next. If something isn’t going well, what’s the best way to fix it? Leaders who listen gain important insights, and those insights are key to solving problems and making necessary improvements. On the other hand, leaders who act before they understand don’t tend to achieve the outcomes they desire.
Empathy is Key
What does it mean to listen? It’s about more than just taking a break from talking. Research … shows that active listing, combined with empathy or trying to understand others’ perspectives and points of view is the most effective form of listening. When the listener truly tries to understand the other person’s perspective, it’s known as empathetic listening.
In empathetic listening, there’s more than the spoken word; this type of listening includes recognizing all verbal and nonverbal cues. It also involves processing: Understanding the meaning of the messages and keeping track of the points of the conversation. Finally, empathetic listening requires responding: Assuring others that listening has occurred and encouraging communication to continue.
Becoming a Better Listener
There is good news for leaders who are not good listeners: it is possible to become a better listener. Some strategies are relatively easy to learn: Keep your mouth closed, … maintain eye contact, actively take notes, [and] resist fidgeting and frowning. Other strategies might require a little more practice and finesse: Letting people speak without … interruption, understand the phrasing may not actually reflect what was said, and do not engage in distractions.
[The] best listeners make a regular practice of asking thoughtful questions. The key word is thoughtful; it’s not enough to just ask questions to keep the conversation going. The questions should be relevant and they should be on topic.
We Know Listening is Important
At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. Listening is an important part of what we do, and we’re good at it. We look forward to listening to you, so call us at 310.436.3650 today.