Listening: Possibly the Most Important Leadership Skill


Too often leadership development programs focus on a leader looking inward or building demonstrative skills like ability to delegate or exuding confidence. But often the most successful leaders are adept at focusing on others in the form of listening.

Do you think you are a good listener? You may want to think again.  The Center for Creative Leadership describes some key indicators in their resource Listening and Leadership. Some of the most common signs that your listening skills need improvement include:

  • You’re easily distracted. Solution: Do your best to stop multi-tasking and be present enough to listen to your team.
  • You fear silence. Solution: Embrace the quiet moments and do not feel obligated to fill silences or respond to every comment.
  • You give advice too soon. Solution: Wait to here the full story and do not feel compelled to be the expert.

For a comprehensive list of resources for your improving listening skills, check out Beth Kanter’s recent blog Ways that Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Can Build Virtuoso Listening Skills. It should be required reading for every leader!