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Managing is all about communication. And since communication is a two-way street, you should not only be able to explain your thoughts clearly to others — you should also be able to properly process the information you receive when someone is speaking to you. That’s where active listening comes in.
What is active listening?
Active listening is an important soft skill that’s absolutely crucial to leading a team. It involves staying engaged in a positive way with your conversation partner when he or she is speaking. According to Arlin Cuncic in the article “How to Practice Active Listening” for VeryWellMind, active listening helps build trust and enhances your ability to understand other people’s situations. In addition, it encourages other people to share more — which means that you get more information you can use to make informed decisions.
How to practice active listening
Active listening is a skill you can learn and hone. Keep the following tips in mind.
Focus on your conversation partner’s message
When you lead a team, you often have many different things on your mind — and they can distract you when you’re talking with someone. By practicing active listening, you can focus completely on your conversation partner’s message while at the same time showing him or her that you’re interested. And that in turn can make your employees feel better supported and more engaged.