How to Lead by Listening

Listening is the single most important communication skill. When people feel “heard” they also feel understood. In personal relationships listening is an act of love.  As a leader, listening is a way to acknowledge or show respect. It takes great listening skills to coach someone to clarity, or to help them redirect their energy from complainer to creator.

There is nothing more valuable we can give to others than focused attention without judgment or a hidden agenda.

Listening helps you to:

Make them feel understood.

Gain their respect.

Determine how to coach them.

Respond rather than react.

Learn more about your own emotional triggers.

When someone is having an emotional reaction (anger, frustration etc.)  It’s easy to get drawn into the drama either as a rescuer or a persecutor. As a leader you must learn the skill of keeping your own emotions in check.

The skill is to first breathe and then listen. The pause of breath takes you one step away from the drama so you can take the lead and subtract yourself from the emotional drama.

When someone is on the “Drama Triangle” they have a high need to be right.  Although you may not agree with their complaint, your ability to listen helps them to feel acknowledged so they can move through the problem and into an act of personal responsibility.



marlene2Marlene Chism is a consultant, international speaker and author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011). Marlene’s passion is developing wise leaders and helping people to discover, develop and deliver their gifts to the world.

Marlene’s message is spreading across the country at association meetings, corporate retreats, universities and other venues. If interested in exploring speaking or training opportunities please call 1.888.434.9085