Bad Habits Leaders Need to Eliminate: # 16. Not listening
We all have our habits (behaviors, personality traits),.. our normal ways of dealing with the world. Leaders may have achieved their level of success as a result of many of their behaviors and possibly in spite of some of their behaviors. Take listening as an example. An individual may have started his/her career as an individual performer and then moved on to managing a technical team. Technical expertise and logical problem solving may have been paramount to success in those positions. Really listening to others might not have been as important. If that same individual then finds themselves in a leadership position, listening to others may be an underdeveloped muscle.
Listening is a skill and like all skills can be taught. Some people have naturally developed good listening skills all of their lives. Many professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and coaches improve their listening skill in formal classes. It is a skill everyone should be practicing daily.
Unfortunately, many leaders who are not good listeners do not realize that they have this weakness. Or they underestimate the impact of this bad behavior. Not listening is the most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues. And your not listening is holding back your organization.
Are you a good listener? You should probably ask your “stakeholders”, those around you who are affected (perhaps insulted) by your listening skills. (Maybe you should start with your spouse.) And you will certainly need the help of those around you if you are going to improve your listening.
Really listening is the highest form of respect, and a key leadership habit.