Effective Leaders Listen
Effective leaders learn to listen first. As Steven Covey, the management guru states, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.”
When someone comes to you and asks a question, it is very powerful to really listen to what they are saying. Ask them questions to clarify their issue, rather than starting to talk as soon as possible, which is really easy to fall into.
After this listening session, you are better able to answer their question, give advice or suggest a direction. They are also ready to listen attentively because they feel and know you have heard and understood their issue. In fact, your listening may have clarified their issue or question.
This works in general for all interpersonal interactions.
 Related Best Practices
- Communications Best Practices
- Tell Them Three Times
- Communications: Rules of thumb to communicate change
- Communications: Method of delivering the message matters
- Communications: Talk with, not to or at
- Communications: Outcomes need positive not negative descriptions
- Communications: Stories help us learn and remember
- Communications: Rule of Three
- 6 Effective Ways Listening Can Make You a Better Leader, Glenn Llopis, Forbes, May 2013.
- Effective Listening, Dr. Scott Williams, Department of Management, Raj Soin College of Business
- How Managers Can Improve Their Listening Skills, Cathy Wellings, Business2community.com, April 2013.
The author of this page is John Macpherson
John Macpherson is currently Chairman of the Board of the Anvil Corporation. Anvil is a 100% ESOP-owned corporation providing full-service engineering, design, procurement, and project management services in the U.S. and Canada. John joined Anvil in 1971 and served as Anvil's President from 2003-2009. He has extensive experience in business management, engineering management, project management, and design engineering, primarily for the petroleum refining industry. John led Anvil's efforts to apply computer technologies to all aspects of engineering, project management, and resource management. John holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Davis. He also attended the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. He holds Professional Mechanical Engineer licenses in the States of Washington and Alaska.