How To Listen Fully So That Others Feel Heard

Research shows employees value respect from their leaders above all else. Yet, as this Harvard Business Review story describes, over half of employees don’t feel they get that respect.

I have learned that full, engaged listening is one way leaders can show daily respect for others, and nothing breaks it down for me more clearly than the Japanese kanji symbol for listening that illustrates this post.  The left side of the kanji represents the ear. The right side is you—your attention, your focus, your eyes. In the middle is the heart. If you are listening with your ears, your eyes, and your heart, your employee is more likely to feel that they have your undivided attention, and your respect.

Some starting points:

  • To listen with your ears, eliminate distractions. If you need to, clarify what the other person is saying by asking questions.
  • To listen with your eyes, pay attention to what their facial expressions and posture are saying. Do these match or differ from their words?
  • To listen with your heart, pay attention to what you hear, and work to show your empathy.

What do you do to be a great listener?

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