“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” ~ Larry King
Leaders are only leaders if they can influence people to follow them. If you want to lead, one of the primary tasks is building quality attachments with men through your ability to influence. Among many different leadership traits, your good listening habits can foster better interpersonal bonding and help influence people. Active listening skill acts as a tool for building a trustworthy relationship. Leaders should possess the habit of listening to their people with compassion, care, attention, and sincerity.
A leader needs to know his men physically and listen to their feelings, emotions, and necessities. This skill makes a leader more knowledgeable and informative about people and contexts. The habit of listening in detail makes a leader confident in assessing a situation. A leader who possesses good listening habits is considered mature and respectful to his men. Good listening skill portrays a leader as wiser to make decisions and resolve disputes. It enhances a more meaningful relationship horizontally with peers and vertically with lower-upper tiers. Being a good listener, you can improve your efficiency and ability to influence negotiations. You can also easily manage numerous conflicting situations and resolve misunderstandings through this valuable practice.
Listening to others and listening well is an opportunity for personal development because it opens prospects to expand your horizon. As Larry King said in the quote above, we do not learn from what we say but learn a lot from what others give out. Each people have a world of their own, filled with thoughts, logic, ideas, opinions, values, experiences, and perspectives. Collectively, all these elements make up their horizon. One of the best means to expand your horizon is to expose yourself to others’ horizons by getting into their thoughts, opinions, experiences, and perspectives. You can expand it quickly by opening your ears and minds to them. You can do it easily with good listening habits. Listening skills are primarily habit-based but focused upon situations too. If you want to enjoy this skill, you should consciously practice controlling your attention. Practice attentive listening till it becomes your habit. Few techniques to exercise as a good listener are:
- To lead, prepare yourself for listening to people. Select a suitable time, place, and supportive environment. Keep some tea/coffee arrangements to get rid of monotony during a long session.
- Face the speaker directly. Keep eye contact with the speaker and pay undivided attention. Let the speaker feel valued.
- Try to see the story from the presenters’ point of view. Make sure that your posture encourages the speaker to give out more details.
- Practice active listening; it is not merely hearing but devoted to understanding. Ask small questions at times but remain careful not to interrupt. It is always better to allow the speaker to finish each point before asking any questions.
- Respond on necessity. Acknowledge and pay attention through your positive body language.
- Ensure the environment does not cause distractions while a session is in progress. Let not others interfere. Keep the cellphone away while listening to someone.
“The roots of effective leadership lie in some simple things, one of which is listening. Listening to someone demonstrates respect; it shows that you value their ideas and are willing to hear them.” ~John Baldoni
 Larry King was a famous American television and radio host, over his career, he hosted over 50,000 interviews.
 John Baldoni is an executive coach and leadership educator who has authored many books on leadership published by the American Management Association.