Great leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela inspired long-lasting change. They were not only heard by their millions of followers, but also respected and revered by them. This wasn’t because they always said what was right and what was true.
It was because they made their followers feel welcomed; made them feel like they belonged. And that is exactly what you should do too. Best Diplomats can help you do that.
How Can You Listen Like a Leader?
They can not expect to be heard and then followed if they are bad listeners themselves. The best way to listen like a leader and inspire change is to make people feel important in your presence.
Leaders indeed need to exert some dominance, but creating a facade of democracy can be beneficial for both the leaders and the followers. Some of the greatest leaders have been great listeners. Here is how you can be, too.
1. Letting Go of Your Ego-Step Down From Your Throne
Leaders can end up feeling like the kings of the world. They tend to believe that their ideas are the best ones and should hence take precedence every time. This is a problematic behavior-one that can reduce your efficiency as a relevant leader.
Rather than sitting on your high horses, you should try to create relatability with your followers. Approach them as if you are their friend. This helps invoke trust. And if history tells us anything, it’s that an ounce of trust can go a long way.
You can follow the exemplary practices of leadership to kick-start your journey as a leader.
2. Change Your Perspective: Diverse Opinions Allow for the Best Decisions
When you are leading, you are often too busy contemplating your own decision. Since you have more authority and power to exercise a decision, you start expressing authoritative tendencies. But that is often counterintuitive to what good leaders should do.
If you want to listen like a leader and make a concrete decision-one that integrates all aspects of a steady plan, you should always listen to others. This can lead to one of two outcomes. Either, you will listen to all alternative solutions and be convinced that your plan of action is the most suitable one. Or you will hear different viewpoints and try to make your strategy more inclusive. It is a win-win in both cases.
3. Listen to Learn, Not to Debate and Refute
Most people, even when they are not leading, simply listen to other people’s points of view, so they can find ways to refute them. This defeats the purpose of discourse. If you want to listen like a leader, make sure you pay attention to other speakers and don’t dismiss their ideas on a whim.
Even if these ideas seem shallow at best, make sure to ask questions and dig deeper. Sometimes less eloquent people are unable to express their thoughts using the right words. As a leader, it is your job to extract those brilliant ideas from them.
4. Patience Is Key; Don’t Rush People Into Making Their Point
If you are listening to others simply for the sake of the exercise and not putting your heart and soul into the conversation, you are more likely to interrupt them often. When someone is speaking, make sure you respect them and don’t cut short their lines. This often interrupts their train of thought, making them feel less confident when they reiterate their point.
If someone is taking a lot of time to express a single idea, show patience and ensure that you are paying utmost attention to their ideas. As a leader, you should not rush through this exercise and give adequate time to everyone to raise concerns or share their ideas.
5. Validate, Don’t Dismiss Their Concerns and Experiences
In a world where people care about their emotions and mental health more than they care about finances and living standards, you must validate their concerns. As a leader, sitting on a pedestal, the issues of your followers or employees may seem petty at times. They may seem irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
However, if you want to continue inspiring change and progress, you need to show that you care. Now there are two ways to go about it. Either, you can pretend to care, in which case your employees will be able to see through your facade. Or you can show genuine concern, which will help develop feelings of trust and compassion in both parties.
6. Focus Is Key-Prioritize a Welcoming Body Language
More than words, sometimes body language can be a bigger cause of concern for your followers. You may say how much you care about your employees and how eager you are to listen to their viewpoints.
But what if you seem uninterested and isolated from their conversation? You come off as not just a bad leader, but an unfaithful one. People will start to resent you even more because they will see through your charade and will not trust your words.
In the long run, your followers or your employees will be skeptical about any action you take-something a leader does not want under any circumstance.
7. Ending on a High Note: The Beauty of Appreciation
If you genuinely want to listen like a leader, you have to learn how to give a good last impression. If you have ticked all the right boxes and listened carefully to everyone, you have still done only 80% of the job.
You have to end your meeting on a high note and appreciate all the people who came and spoke so courageously. This brings a smile to everyone’s faces-especially the ones who were skeptical about sharing their concerns. This helps them feel at ease and assures them that they did the right thing.
If you are not good at appreciation speeches, make sure you write one beforehand and deliver it at the end of the meeting. This also allows you to have the final word. And if history has taught us anything, it’s that leaders always have the final say in any matter.
Learning Through Practice-Come Join Us at Best Diplomats
To lead and then also listen like a leader may seem a daunting task at first. But you can learn this in a few days only. Best Diplomats holds United Nations Simulations that allow you to engage in meaningful conversations while also giving you the opportunity to lead others. To register, contact us.
Everywhere you go, you will have people telling you how great is it to be a good speaker. While good articulation and speaking skills help you land a good job, good listening skills help you retain that position.
Leaders who can lend an ear to their employees tend to be trusted and revered both inside and outside their community. If you want to listen like a leader, follow the 7 steps mentioned above.
Why Do You Need to Listen Like a Leader?
Humans crave attention. They want people to listen to them and prioritize their concerns. As a leader, it may seem like a tedious job to pay attention to every follower or employee, but you should do it nonetheless. Try to listen like a leader -even when it is really hard.
This is because leaders who instilled fear in their followers and coerced them into doing something were never remembered in a good light. Take Hitler as an example. Had he listened to the concerns of his German fellows, he would have known how utterly wrong he was. He enforced his decision and his ideals; something that ultimately lead to his downfall and his demise.
How do you sound like a leader?
To speak like a leader, you need to do three things.
1) First, be aware of the context of your speech. Make sure you have an in-depth knowledge of the task at hand before you start talking about it.
2) Secondly, be confident and very decisive in your speech. Keep the questions for the last, so you can explain your viewpoint in detail.
3) Lastly, be very specific. When you add details for a specific task, you tend to gauge the interest of the audience.
Are Bosses Good Listeners?
In the very popular ongoing debate between bosses vs leaders, one thing is pretty clear: bosses are not great listeners. They value their authority over everything else, and hence seldom give their associates any room to share their opinion. On the other hand, leaders who listen well tend to change the world for the better.