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You can’t listen, if you don’t stop talking

Listening is most often not an inborn skill. It takes a conscious effort to train your mind to ‘hear’ others.

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Listening to understand

Research in the past has indicated that employees who don’t believe their bosses are listening to them are less likely to offer helpful suggestions and new ideas. This makes it imperative for leaders to stop hearing and start listening, actively.*

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Listen up

In his book, One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness, author Rasmus Hougaard says, “Mindfulness is about you. It’s about overcoming the multitasking trap, and entering the attention economy, being one second ahead of your wandering mind and external distractions. It’s about being the best version of yourself every day.” Listening mindfully is an overlooked tool that leaders should use to combat conflict.

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Lend an ear

Communication is the cornerstone of an engaged workforce. A company’s workforce represents its most significant investment and ultimately determines the success or failure of the organization. Engaged employees are far more likely to demonstrate the dedication and commitment that are essential to the long-term growth of any company, large or small.* Communication should not be seen as a challenge but a way to enhance the performance of employees in an organization.

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It pays to listen

A team derives strength from the interactions of its members—the degree of fluidity in their communication and the understanding they have of each other. What then is the ideal framework that builds such an environment? Undoubtedly, empathy, and listening skills that bolster it.

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A thumb rule

Listening, an important life skill, is crucial in communicating and building one’s business. It is a skill that defines competence and should be given more importance by leaders.

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A much-needed leadership skill

Seth S Horowitz, author of The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, in an article in the New York Times, writes, “Hearing, in short, is easy… It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second.” When it comes to leaders, listening becomes a more difficult task for they need to be both effective and passionate listeners.

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Celebrate it more often

In an earlier interview with The Smart Manager, author Hap Klopp explained why Silicon Valley companies are a class apart—they recognize the fact that excellence is only achieved via radical action, and that radical action has an incrementally higher probability of failure. They keep ‘failure’ in perspective and do not let it overwhelm them.
It is not something to be averse to—‘failure’ could be the winning mantra if seen as a strategic step along the growth path.

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Stepping stones

John Lunney, Sue Lueder, and Gary O’Connor of Google write in an article on re:Work, “We use postmortems to carefully document and disseminate learnings from any mistakes… A postmortem is the process our team undertakes to reflect on the learnings from our most significant undesirable events… For us, it’s not about pointing fingers at any given person or team, but about using what we’ve learned to build resilience and prepare for future issues that may arise along the way.”* It is this attitude that startups and entrepreneurs need to develop to face failures and bounce back.

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How to tame your ‘victim voice’

Our lives often take unexpected turns—landing us in difficult situations, fighting unforeseen odds. However, rarely do we comprehend that what has led to the crisis could be our own flawed approach and we wallow in self-pity. It takes a lot of courage and self-belief to accept and acknowledge that the fault lines lie within.

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