Like, actually listening.
Every environment I’ve worked in, I’ve had the good fortune to be surrounded by great people – each of them bringing something unique to the table. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with great leaders that have all shared one characteristic: The ability to get the best from their teams, by actively listening to their colleagues.
We’re living in a TL;DR world – and great leaders make sure they don’t operate in a TL;DL world. At a presentation, brainstorm, or at the watercooler, here’s four things to keep in mind to be sure you’re actually hearing what people around you are saying:
- Be patient. Plotting your escape or thinking about your next meeting? You’re probably not really paying attention.
- Most people are inclined to seek solutions – don’t focus on ‘fixing’, focus on what’s being said.
- Don’t interrupt – write down your thought, continue listening, and follow up when the speaker has concluded.
- Avoid the temptation to ask questions that lead towards your ideas (see point #2), and instead ask questions that allow the speaker to elaborate or clarify; You know what you think, what about them?
You know you’ve got a great team. By listening attentively, and asking the right questions, you won’t have to worry about missing innovative ideas that could drive your next award-winning project, an AHA moment, or just another opportunity to foster a great team environment.