The previous blog illustrated that our own needs to be heard and to be acknowledged often prevent us from truly listening. Here, we show how self- awareness and self-management can improve your ability to listen and raise your emotional intelligence.
Take our Barriers to Good Listening – Self Assessment to become more aware of your personal listening barriers. Knowing your own behaviors is half the battle. Select a behavior that you think is particularly damaging to important relationships. Replace that behavior with another, more constructive one, rather than try to stop it. For example, rather than planning on NOT multi-tasking when your staff come into your office, plan to turn your computer screen off, or better yet, move away from your desk when you talking with your employees.
Here are a few strategies to help you self-manage your listening behavior:
- Be fully present when you are engaged in conversation.
- Go to meetings intent on focusing on what others have to say.
- Listen for agreement.
- Actively demonstrate listening.
- Make eye contact. Smile. Nod.
- Manage body language and facial expressions that send negative messages.
Evaluate your own listening skills at the end of every interaction to track your progress. Although listening starts with self-awareness, it doesn’t end there. It requires self-management to succeed.
For tips on listening, we remind you to see Critical Conversations: What to Say and How to Say It.