Ask anyone about what makes a good leader and they are sure to put the ability to communicate high on the list of necessary skills. Yet all to often communication is simply seen as the ability to speak. Listening – actively is an incredibly powerful tool at times rather neglected. I stated working with ***** who said, “I feel really frustrated. I often suggest ideas at meetings but others get the credit! I am really keen to get promotion and want to impress” ***** was keen to do well. He wanted his superiors to recognise his potential and felt it was important to come up with the goods.
At meetings ***** always tried to get in first. He was quick to speak, often cutting across others and interrupting. By doing so there were a number of consequences quite different to his original intention: Bosses lost their train of thought; they found the interruptions irritating. ***** concentrated far more on what he was going to say rather than internalising what was being said by others. His contributions were not focused on the matter at hand, or were shallow because he had not taken the time to analyse what had been said Thoughts were articulated before they were completely formulated.
Others picked up on the idea, thought them through logically and re-articulated them as their own, gaining lots of brownie points with the bosses The problem was premature articulation, a very common problem. The solution is easy to identify but requires practice on a regular basis if the new behaviour is to become second nature. Together we considered how to manage the problem. I asked ****** to make a conscious decision to act differently at the next meeting. To remain quiet, listening carefully and to contribute only when their opinion was asked for. Planned strategies for listening, ordering thoughts and recording ideas were put in place. It was agreed that ideas were to be offered after enough thought had taken place to ensure they were logical ordered and listened to. The result was amazing. ****** felt more in control and was ready with positive, well thought out contributions which were accredited to him. ***** found the situation in meetings was less stressful and frantic as the pressure to perform was lessened.
Listening attentively, taking time to get his thoughts together before offering a contribution has taken a bit of effort but well worth while. Feedback from *****’s boss has been extremely positive.
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