Veronica was a good listener by nature. Early on, she committed to making "listening" a key aspect of her leadership style. That's one reason she was so beloved and trusted as a CEO. With Veronica as a role model, her company became known as a workplace where people deeply listened and really cared.
Three traits make Veronica and other leaders deep listeners: Curiosity, humility, and resilience. Curiosity means you are genuinely interested in other people's perspectives. You wonder about things with an open mind. Humility means you know you don't have all the answers, and you don't pretend to. You respect and seek out what others know. Resilience means you are willing to ask, able to hear what may make you uncomfortable, and admit your shortcomings without shame.
Then there is practice. The best leaders listen a lot and keep refining their skills through courses, coaching, and asking colleagues for feedback. They know that listening leads to learning, and that learning leads to loving - i.e., uplifting and connecting. That's how leaders create love-based Amare cultures.
- Are you a good listener?
- What gets in the way of you being the best listener you can be?
- Does your company really value listening?
7 Amare Ways to Become Listen Deeply & Lead with Love
Build resilience. Imagine hearing colleagues say you're not such a great listener. Imagine them sharing things about your work that you don't like hearing. If you feel triggered, take a deep breath and start again until you're not reacting. This is courage in action.
Get a baseline. Ask colleagues you trust if they experience you as a good listener. First though, let them know you want the truth and that it's safe for them to be honest (be sure it is!). Notice how their perspectives compare with how you see yourself. Then, for a few recorded conversations, track how much time you're listening vs. talking.
Practice wondering. When you're thinking through a problem, consider what other reasons and solutions might exist. Then ask a few people how they see it. Make "I wonder..." your mantra anytime you seek to understand, to innovate, and to imagine.
Listen, listen, listen. Life presents so many opportunities to listen in an authentic way. Practice whenever you can - when asking people how they are, when meeting with colleagues, whenever and wherever. Then summarize what you heard for that person and ask if you got it right.
Attend to the emotions. Go beyond the content and focus on how people are expressing themselves. Pay attention to the nuances of their words, their body language, and their tone. If you're not sure what the emotion is, with wonder and respect, ask.
Watch your mind. Notice what goes on inside you when you're listening to others talk. Pay attention to your attention, what distracts you, what makes you want to jump in, and what makes you happy or angry. Keep bringing your mind back to fully listening. It's a lifetime practice!
- Create a listening culture. Model meaningful listening. Encourage others to do the same. Provide tools to empower people to succeed at listening and make it the norm in your organizational culture.
Deep listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give your people and company. It is an act of love. When people feel heard, they commit and engage more; it's human nature. Your investment in listening skills is a great way to grow the effectiveness of your leadership.