Although single-minded determination and laser-like focus may be necessary to drive towards an outcome, dismissing other perspectives and ideas from your team can block your success in more ways than one. Not only could it prevent your business from moving forward, it shuts down dialogue, creativity and trust; the things your team needs so that they can voice their opinions even when they’re different from yours.
What makes a great leader? Among the well documented attributes we’re all familiar with is the one skill that trumps them all: knowing how to listen.
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” -Bernard Baruch
Embracing Different Opinions Brings New Opportunities
Doors you didn’t know existed can open to new possibilities when diverse viewpoints can flourish. You and your team won’t always agree, and that’s okay. What matters is that they feel their opinions are valued and heard. Besides, by not considering their opinion, you’re negating why you hired them in the first place – for their skillset which inevitably includes innovative and fresh ideas.
During the pandemic, business owners have endured the stress of adapting to sudden changes out of their control. Disagreements with your team, business advisor, family and friends are inevitable, but conflict resolution starts with you. If you do that, you can build a strong team and innovative team who will keep fresh ideas and creativity flowing.
Lead By Listening
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen R. Covey
The first step to managing conflict effectively and building trust is, you guessed it, to actively listen. But what does that mean?
- Not interrupting. Although it may be tempting, take a deep breath instead and allow the other person to finish what they’re saying. This benefits both of you, as it shows them respect, and you might just learn something.
- Demonstrating that you’re listening. Small gestures go a long way, such as nodding, or saying “yes” and “I understand” to let them know you’re paying attention and what they’re saying is really landing.
- Reiterating the gist of what they said. Repeat it back by paraphrasing in your own words, to show you understand their message.
- Asking open-ended questions. Put aside ‘yes’ or ‘no’ type-questions for another time. Instead, your constructive inquiry reassures that you’ve been hearing them, and open-ended questions that invite a more thoughtful answer moves the dialogue forward.
- Acknowledging their emotions. Identify with their feelings such as “You sound understandably frustrated”, or “I realise how you must have felt upset about that.” Giving their feelings a name, whether you think they’re valid or not, helps bridge an understanding and releases tension.
The Benefits for All Involved
“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert
Modifying your own behaviour in even the smallest way with active listening can make a giant leap of improvement in your leadership and business. It creates:
- Positive Change: The trust that is built means you’ll both be less defensive and can work together to come to an agreement on what has to be done.
- Stronger Influence: Once there’s trust, you’ve earned the right to work on solving the problem alongside them, with your input welcomed – not resented.
- More Empathy: By really listening, you’ll get an understanding of where they’re coming from and how they feel. You’ll know them better and have more appreciation for their point of view.
- Better Rapport: A connection occurs when the other person feels your understanding and empathy. It creates a momentum to continue building affinity and trust.
Ready to move your business forward?
We’re Here to Listen
Every business needs a confidant, and the ‘great minds’ at BWMD are a sounding board for your ideas and concerns. We take effective communication with you seriously, and utilise the Disc Profile personality framework as a tool to help us best match your communication style. Contact us today to help us to help you achieve success on your terms.