Effective leadership is built on a solid foundation of clear mission, vision, strategy and certain leadership skills – one of which is active listening.

Active listening, as its name suggests, means that one is fully concentrating and understanding what is being said rather than passively “hearing” what the other party is saying. Being able to listen effectively is a powerful and essential component of leadership. Yet few leaders are able full achieve the art of actively listening to their employees and peers.

Nonetheless, it is possible to develop effective listening skills for leaders as well as for those who are keen to hone their leadership skills.

The first step towards active listening is to give full attention to the person who is speaking. This can be achieve by setting a comfortable tone with the other party and provide time and opportunity for the other person to speak instead of simply cutting off the other party to make a point. At the same time, it is important to pay attention to one’s body language as well. Simple body movements such as crossing one’s arms across the chest may suggest disinterest to the person who is speaking.

An active listener adopts an open mind perspective. In order to be a well-respected leader and a good listener, one needs to be open to new ideas, different perspectives and varying possibilities. There is no denying that one would have their own strong views but a good listener is one that withholds judgements and avoids trying to sell their point immediately.

A good listener is not afraid to clarify and ask questions about any issues that is unclear or ambiguous. At the same time, it helps to probe more into the issue that the other party is sharing. Asking open-ended and clarifying questions can encourage the other party to expand their ideas and allow them o reflect on the issue on hand.

Being able to articulate key ideas of the conversation back to the other party displays understanding of the other person’s point of view. At the same time, it reinforces the key messages and provides clear direction on the responsibilities and follow-up actions. Likewise, requesting for the other party to do the same ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Active listening, coupled with effective communication, are the two important traits of a successful leader. Being willing to listen to employees and making efforts to take positive actions can certainly help to boost employees’ productivity in the long run.

Author's Bio: 

Based in Singapore, i-Admin offers world-class, easy-to-use payroll solutions using technology and systems infrastructure that exceed industry standards. Our proprietary technology platform provides a singular web-based service that delivers electronic payslips and other e-Services to our clients. We offer payroll services to companies of all types and industries across 15 countries in Asia.

As a leading regional provider of cloud-based SaaS payroll and HR management solutions, we achieve uncompromised efficiency, security and service quality to our clients’ organisations and employees, further helping our clients’ to save on large financial technological investments.