“If you want to stand out as a leader, a good place to begin is by listening,” said Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, which controls over 400 companies, when asked what it takes to be a good leader.

We read everywhere about it, so why is listening such an important trait to accomplish great things in life? The quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence, and that brings huge benefits to our business.

A research suggests that 45% of waking hours are spent on listening, yet few of us are good listeners. Those who listen well tend to work better in a team-based environment. An executive coach helps the executive to create an inclusive environment through true listening rather than the run-of-the-mill listening that most of us are guilty of.

When we truly listen to someone, we show that we have their best interests in mind. It validates what they’re saying, which tells them we care for them. Also, it helps us to hear their intent, their fears, their craving, their bliss and their inherent needs. This strengthens our relationship with this person. Now, they believe in our leadership, just because we listened. It sounds simple, yet it is quite challenging to truly listen.

So how can we listen truly? By being quiet and paying attention to the person who is speaking? Yes, but it’s not enough. The author of the legendary book Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck pointed out:

An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes.

What if we don’t listen properly? What happens then is we often miss the purpose of the conversation. We might miss some key information which might result in miscommunication and general waste of time.

For instance, a co-worker is sharing a distinct experience he had with a client and wants to tell us how to handle this client better. But while in the conversation, we are checking the phone frequently. Hence, only parts of the conversation are known to us and not the whole.

So, this incomplete listening will result in two outcomes. One is we will only remember small broken pieces of information, which might lead to major misunderstandings. Second is that we also might blame him that he purposely gave wrong or incomplete information. And, say, in the future performance measurement exercise or a like event, we both will try to degrade each other due to this misinterpretation.

This shows how true-listening can not only help to increase productivity, but also build and enhance relationships with our co-workers and colleagues. A leadership coach makes us realize how true-listening can be mastered by taking the focus on our inner voice, how to silent it gently to truly listen to someone and also to pay attention to what it says about us.

If we peek inside ourselves for a while, we can find a distinct inner voice that defines us. As it is essential to really listen to someone else, it is also very crucial to know ourselves to our greatest depth. Then, we will know that we possess a magnificent potential to live an extraordinary life. Leadership Coaching simply helps us recognize it and then actualize it through a comprehensive strategy distinctly designed for us.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Not to suggest that we never speak from now on. The people around us need to know what we’re thinking, doubly so if we’re in a leadership role. Although, what we need to remember is that- When the other person is talking, they trust us with the information they’re sharing, so it’s best we keep everything aside and focus completely on the conversation. This article on mindfulness will help to zero in on one thing at a time. By being mindful while listening, we might gain even better insights and ideas in the conversation.

Apart from all these brilliant benefits, we also enjoy an extra benefit. And that is, as we listen more, we now have more information than before. But not only this, the extra benefit is that we get to stay mysterious, we can share our story at a time when no-one might expect it. How does being a mystery help? It makes our story more exciting and interesting for everyone. And hence it will astonish them and have a greater impact than if we’d have shared it earlier by interrupting someone. Now, let’s agree that listening is greatness. By the way, through reading this article to the end, you have in a way listened to me truly.

Listen to lead… 

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