It's a crime almost every manager has committed. And the penalty can be that you lose influence with your team.

Call it "iPhone listening."

You've been there--you're allegedly listening to someone, but what you're really doing is scrolling through your smartphone, checking your e-mail or the latest Tweets.

Sometimes you're not even looking at your mobile device, you just have it in your hand. But the message you're sending out is deadly: this phone is more important than you are.

The fact is, listening is a highly underrated management tool. Money talks, but silence can be golden. So listen up and learn to listen the right way. That's the focus of a recent story in the Harvard Business Review by Twitter's head of Global Learning and Organizational Development, Melissa Daimler.

Daimler writes that listening can be tough to master, but it "creates an environment of safety when done well." You know what doesn't create an environment of safety? Yelling. That's what some managers do - watch how some CEOs say it's okay to yell in this Radiate video.


Daimler has found that by listening closely to her team members, she finds that they often come up with ideas she hadn't thought of. Daimler came up with three ways to make yourself a better listener:

1. Ask more questions: Make sure you know what a colleague is really asking for.

2. Create space in your day: Shrink the number of meetings so that when you talk with someone, you can spend more time listening. "When I strategically create space on my calendar to reflect on a conversation and prepare for the net one, " Daimler writes, "I can be more present for others."

3. Look people in the eye: Personal attention always works.

Bernard Ferrari wrote "Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All." He says that most people focus on ways to communicate their own ideas effectively. By ignoring the other half of the equation--listening--they end up with missed opportunities.

So stick the iPhone in your pocket. And lead by listening.

Published on: Aug 23, 2016
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