Listening with Empathy Can Change the Game

Listening is so incredibly important to any leader, or person, for that matter, who wants to make a positive impact on those around them.  At the same time, it’s one of the simplest yet most frequently missed opportunities among leaders at all levels.  

The more I travel around working with leaders at all levels of organizations, I notice a void in this arena.  Sadly, the simple act of listening with empathy has become a bit of a lost art.  However, with the slightest shift in perspective, we realize just how important listening is in our journey to become the best leader or person we can be.

Here are four categories to think about, when it comes to listening.  If you listen to all four of these consistently, you’ll be well-respected, you’ll never stop learning, and you’ll without a doubt become a better leader over time.

Listen to Your Own Intuition

If you feel something is off, or a different approach might serve your team better, you’re probably on to something. Trust your gut, as they say. Listen to the voices in your head and heart. Those voices are your intuition. They’re almost always wise and usually worth exploring. You’ll serve your team well, making sure everyone’s focused on doing the right thing.

Listen to your team

When they know you listen, you and your employees will be well-served. Your team will appreciate the shoulder, the ear, and the attention. Listening doesn’t always mean you must provide a solution. In fact, in most situations, listening is all people need or want. If they want advice, they’ll usually ask. Listening is about being present and willing to help. It’s at the very foundation of service because until you listen empathetically, seeking to understand specific needs, you won’t know the best actions to take.  

Listen to your own leaders

Your boss, her boss, and her boss’s boss are in their roles for many reasons. You may be perfectly aware of why they’re in the role of Director, Vice President, or Chief; other times you may wonder why. Trust that to some extent, they’ve walked in your shoes, which makes them a viable resource. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and, be humble enough to actively listen to their advice and guidance. When you actively listen for feedback, and when you implement it, you’ll serve your team, your leaders, your organization, and even your community well.

Listen to your Guests, customers, and clients

The best brands and best leaders serve people. Whether it’s overdelivering, creating a memorable experience, or adding value in some way. One of the simplest, yet most frequently missed opportunities to serve is to simply listen. When people take time to share feedback, it’s a way of saying they care, as they genuinely hope you’ll improve. Listen to your Guests, customers, and clients, and you’ll create a culture of service.