Does active listening hold the key to better leadership? Jeff Van Fleet, Lighthouse’s CEO, thinks so.
Being an engaged, empathetic, patient, active listener is not about offering solutions, but instead allowing others to fully express themselves to the point where they begin to solve problems on their own.
The birds are singing, the grass is green, and it’s raining, so it must be springtime!! Yay!! I love Spring, as it reminds me that life continuously renews and restarts. In a way, I’m also awakening from the quiet, closed-in feeling of winter. The windows are finally open and I’m enjoying the energy of nature. I love sitting outside or just lying in bed, listening to the buzzing of life restarting.
Let’s get started today by taking a quick break together to listen. Pause for 30 seconds, close your eyes, and pay attention to what you hear.
What do you hear? Personally, I hear birds singing, trucks rumbling down the highway, the HVAC system humming, and chit chat from our employees.
Listening well is a critical part of good leadership. I attended a meeting last night and the topic got around to active listening. We discussed how being an engaged, empathetic, patient, active listener is not about offering solutions, but instead allowing others to fully express themselves to the point where they begin to solve problems on their own.
Now, for those of you that know me personally, you know that I am just a little fast-paced (he said with tongue in cheek). Not everyone moves as quickly as I do, and that frustrates me. So, I often react by interrupting with questions and offering solutions before I fully hear the problem. Logically, I know that everyone processes information and emotions differently, but I don’t quite have it deep down in my gut yet. And because of that, I am not allowing them to draw their own conclusions and self-learn.
Last night’s discussion helped me realize something: if I want to accomplish my personal goals, I need to improve my listening skills. I want to inspire others, I want them to know I care, I want to help them grow, and I want everyone around me to do their best and be proud of the work they do. I can’t do those things if I’m not being an active listener.
To help improve, I started researching and came across this great article about using active listening to help enrich, inspire, challenge, illuminate, and learn: The 50 Most Powerful Questions Leaders Can Ask. It’s not as long as the title sounds, and I encourage you to read it. I read the full article in about 5 minutes, and now I am going back and reading ten questions per day for five consecutive days. There are some great questions in here and I already started using some of them today! I hope they help you as well!
As always, I love hearing your feedback and would like to know what you are working on in your quest to be a better leader. And just in case you see me and want to talk about something important, remember that I am still practicing. So please be patient with me as I learn to listen better!
Keep having fun,
Jeff Van Fleet
President & CEO
Lighthouse Technologies, Inc.
Software Testing | Quality Assurance Consulting | Oracle EBS Consulting