Listen With Care
What if there was one skill you could practice as a leader that would improve engagement, lead to more effective communication, increase creativity, enhance conflict resolution, foster higher morale, reduce turnover, and drive collaboration? What if you could apply this skill to workplace relationships, your marriage, friendships, or even the after dinner small talk at the corporate gathering?
This multi-applicable skill is called “active listening.” The concept was first publicly defined in 1957 by Carl Rogers and Richard Farson, two world-renowned psychologists and authors. For the past century, this skill has been taught primarily in the counseling and psychotherapy world. For the past fifty years, the discipline of executive coaching has practiced it. In the past five to ten years, the business world has begun to embrace it as research emerges, validating the importance of emotional and social intelligence in leadership.
It is a technique of listening that is both active (not passive or reflective) and collaborative between speaker and listener.
Active listening must first be applied with the right attitude and posture — genuine curiosity and care. When applied by a servant leader desiring to enrich the lives of those he or she leads, active listening can help deepen relationships and promote a flourishing workplace. When used in a self-serving manner it comes across as sterile, empty, and even manipulative.