Active listening, combined with trying to understand others’ perspectives and points of view, is the most effective form of listening. It can help you get the best from your employees — and propel you to a class of your own as a leader. To listen more actively:
• Recognize verbal and nonverbal cues, such as tone, facial expressions, and other body language. Pay attention to what others are not saying, and probe a bit deeper: “You seem excited (happy, upset…), and I’d like to hear more about your perspective.”
• Assure others that you’ve heard what they have to say, and encourage ongoing communication with appropriate replies such as verbal acknowledgements, clarifying questions, or paraphrasing, as well as non-verbal behaviors such as facial expressions, eye contact, and head nods.
• To show others that you’ll remember what they said, summarize key messages at the end of your conversation.
Adapted from “Three Ways Leaders Can Listen with More Empathy” by Christine M. Riordan.