There are several things that make communication and interpersonal skills excellent, but for this post, we’ll focus on a big one: listening. As a manager or leader, listening is particularly important because it can help increase employee engagement.
“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”
To inspire, persuade, or engage an employee, they need to feel valued. One way to show you value them is to really listen to them.
Don’t believe me? Here are five examples of excellent communication and interpersonal skills that also illustrate why listening is so important:
Jeff Jacobson is the new CEO for Xerox. In his first eight months, he has traveled around the world to meet with Xerox’s 35,000 employees in 160 countries. He is trying to personally connect with as many employees as possible because, “People relate to people at the end of the day,” he says in a recent Fortune interview.
Nikolay Piriankov, CEO of Taylor & Hart, revealed in a recent Training Journal article, “Initially I thought my role as a manager was to ‘tell’ my team members how and what to do. As I’ve grown into the role I’ve realized that listening to them express their frustration and challenges allows me to be far more effective in helping them.”
Andri Kawel, CEO of Forex Trading News, echoes this sentiment in a recent Forbes article. He says, “When it comes to being a first class leader, one of the most important things to remember is to listen to your team. So many leaders are convinced that strong leadership requires brilliant oratory, and that is certainly true in some cases. But listening is one of the most underused and undervalued traits of a good leader. Without listening it is impossible to truly understand what your team requires, and this in turn then causes a potentially catastrophic breakdown in communication. There is a reason when you have two ears, and one mouth and a great leader recognizes this.”
Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom is a member of Walmart’s Board of Directors. According to an interview with Fortune, he reflected on his first meeting with newly appointed Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon. He said of McMillon, “He’s one of the most intensely friendly people I’ve ever met. And intensely friendly in the sense that his focus is on you, like there’s no other thing going on in his mind when he’s talking to you. He’s not distracted. He’s not thinking about a meeting he has next. He’s 100% focused on you.” Systrom added this is unique – “hasn’t seen in any other executive [he’s] met in the Valley, nor in business period.”
Listening is the first part. Taking action is the second. In a recent Forbes interview, Dr. Naphtali Hoff , an Executive Coach, Organizational Consultant, Trainer, Lecturer, and author of Becoming the New Boss: The New Leader’s Guide To Sustained Success, says, “The more that you could be transparent, the more the people see that what you’re asking of them is demonstrated in the following outcome, the following result, the more they’re willing to invest and trust in you moving forward.”
The first step of The Pinnacle Method, our 3-Step process for influential communication, is to analyze your audience. How do they feel about you and your message? How do they feel about your company? How do they feel about their job? One of the quickest ways to answer these questions is to listen.
To learn more about how we can help improve your communication and interpersonal skills, please contact us.