Good Listening = Good Leadership

As a leader, listening to what your employees have to say is conveying that you genuinely care about them.

If you make listening a priority by taking into consideration what your team members are telling you…with an open mind, without problem solving or seeking conclusions, while that person is speaking, it will be appreciated and praised by not only your immediate team members, but also by other senior executive colleagues.

What is the importance of improving your listening skills?

If the quality of your listening determines the quality of your impact, wouldn’t that bring enormous value to your company?

Statistics show that roughly 40 percent of today’s workforce does not feel appreciated.  Maybe it is time that to reach out to your staff in other significant and meaningful ways.

Unfortunately, Email or texting often replace conversations today.  They might be quick and easy but they don’t offer the interaction that we need to build genuine and strong relationships.

You must make the time to connect with and maintain solid relationships with your staff.

Let your staff know they are valued and appreciated and that you want to hear their ideas.

  1. Concentration:  Focus your attention on the words, ideas and feeling related to the topic. Concentrate on the main ideas or points, this will take an intentional effort.
  2. Attention: Through eye contact and other body language, communicate to the speaker that you are paying close attention to his or her messages.
  3. Eye contact:  You are not as likely to be distracted from the person talking to you, plus so much of many messages are in non-verbal form and by watching the eyes and face of a person we pick up clues as to the content. Also, your eye contact is letting the speaker know you are listening.
  4. Impartial:  Be open to what the speaker’s message is.   This is especially important because as a leader you need to appreciate a wide range of opinions on challenging topics.
  5. Restating the message:  This helps to give immediate clarification if the exchange is not clear, remember to state the message as unambiguously and impartially as possible.
  6. Questioning/Clarifying:  If you are unclear about the intent of the message, ask for more information.
  7. Empathy:  As a good listener you need to be able to understand the other person.  Put yourself in the speaker’s position so that you can see what he or she is trying to get at.
  8. Don’t Interject:  We might often have the impulse to jump in and interrupt.  This can often suppress additional communications from the speaker
  9. Leave the Channel Open:  A good listener always leaves open the possibility of additional messages.  A simple question or nod will often encourage additional interactions.

The good news is that with just a little bit of effort and attention we can all learn to be better listeners.

These practices can help you be deliberate, focused, and meticulous when it comes to listening and that will make a huge difference with the morale of your staff.

To win and sustain quality relationships, your people need to know you genuinely care about them.  By listening with a considerate and compassionate ear, putting yourself in their shoes, and by keeping an open mind, you will develop a culture of excited and active teamwork.


Being consciously focused, you become a fully present listener, which will significantly improve your effectiveness as a leader!


Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC and author of “The 3×5 Coach: A Practical Guide to Coaching Your Team for Greater Results and Happier People”, which is now available in Paperback or a Kindle version at

At 55 Questions, we work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition.  We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization.

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