Close your eyes and imagine your favourite Leader. Let the image of this leader surface in your mind’s internal representation.
Recall the settings of this image… What was the Leader doing in your image? In all probability, the leader was on stage or in a board room meeting or in a field setup … Deciding, talking, executing decisions perhaps !!
If something similar is indeed what you visualized, it’s perfectly fine!! That’s a stereotypical portrayal of a Leadership “Image” that has been bombarded and vastly overdone by the Media!!
And yet there exists an essential silent Leadership Skill that often gets ignored and shunted in this melee… and yet it is one of the most fundamental skill on top of which other skills pile themselves on!!
It’s not an active or highly vocal skill… On the contrary its a passive skill set that defines how successful a leader you become… Some of you may have guessed it by now. The skill, that silent and often reticent skill in focus here is “Listening”
Hearing is NOT Listening
The simplest example to drive home this point and something which all of us have practically implemented as students is….
A classroom with a boring lecturer going on and on, on an even more boring topic!!
What do the students do??
They hear, they are barely able to physically process the sound(noise) coming in from the dais
Are they able to comprehend the info??
Certainly not!! For they aren’t listening…
Another example is when the husband on a call with his wife can immediately sense something amiss!! Perhaps its the pause or simply the silence or a rather cold tone from the other end and the husband is immediately alert and perhaps petrified… Another example of listening :)
In the corporate world and in personal settings as well, It is often hearing that fakes itself as Listening!! It is often hearing masquerading as Listening!!
Listening Consumes Time & Effort & Practice
Developing Listening Skills consumes Time and expends effort in terms of
- Being focused on What the other is trying to convey. At times, it also translates into asking Open Ended Queries to help the other person express what’s in his mind!!
- It also means giving the other His “Space” to freely express himself without feeling intimidated or threatened.
- It also implies an increased alertness and awareness to effectively pause all the internal chatter within,that can crop up during the conversation…
- If the internal chatter establishes itself in a conversation, one has slipped from Listening & fallen into the domain of Hearing Again
Amongst multiple benefits that Listening often silently brings in, below are the prominent ones.
- Rapport Building –
The other person feels connected to the Listener. He feels valued that his views are respected. He is likely to share or highlight info that can well turn out to be “Critical”. The old adage that the Devil lies in the Details is often decoded by “Listening”
- Relationship Building – ( In Professional and Personal Spaces)
Everyone wants to talk, but nobody wants to “listen”.
Listening in it’s highest form is therapeutic.
One as it coveys a vibe of being “Non-Judgmental”. The other is accepted for who the other is!!
Often unconsciously, the other feels assured that his/her space is not going to be constricted or challenged
After-all aren’t Rapport and Relationship the cornerstones of your Life!!