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Active listening, the key to more dynamic management

It is the key to more dynamic management where leaders play a more constructive role. (Photo: 123RF)

GUEST BLOG. Inspirational leaders stimulate the members of their teams to encourage them to surpass themselves to take them to the next level. One of the main characteristics that sets them apart is their great ability to engage in active listening, because this allows them to energize their leadership and make it more stimulating.

This technique leads them in particular to get to know the members of their teams better, the extent of their skills, their professional objectives, their sense of initiative, their creativity, their ability to anticipate pitfalls and solve problems. It also helps them to empower them, to take the pulse of the working atmosphere, to specify the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and more.

In short, active listening allows inspiring leaders to accumulate an invaluable wealth of knowledge that they can then use through their leadership to develop the company and its people according to established growth objectives. It is the key to more dynamic management where leaders play more of a constructive role of guide, trigger, motivator, manager-coach rather than an authoritarian role of commander. As unlikely as it may seem to the uninitiated, active listening leads to more effective management than directive management. Its impact is also more durable. Let’s explore why.

What is Active Listening?

From the outset, when we talk about listening, it is above all a question of exploiting one’s ability to receive information rather than to give instructions. It is therefore necessary to be in a state of openness and to see active listening as a means of nurturing one’s leadership in order to better deploy it afterwards and not, as is all too often wrongly the case, as a waste of time which does not lead to nothing.

The presence of the word “active” means that it is necessary to put one’s interventions at the service of one’s listening. Among other things, it should be used to encourage resources to express their ideas (“How do you see things?”), make them feel that their expertise is recognized (“What do you suggest?”), invite them to clarify their thoughts in order to understand them (“What do you mean by…?”), encourage them to suggest their solutions (“Do you have an idea to improve or resolve the situation?”).

Well directed, active listening allows you to increase your knowledge of your workplace and optimize the use of your staff’s skills for the benefit of their development and that of the company.

Leadership for the benefit of corporate culture

Contrary to what many followers of directive management think, active listening is not a passive process that overshadows their leadership. It is rather a process that reinforces it, but gently, which can destabilize them, because it goes against their management habits.

Leadership manifests differently with active listening. As we mentioned earlier, it takes more the form of mentoring. We don’t do active listening thinking we’re right, because then we put ourselves in a closed position, which is a real extinguisher for the staff. Interventions tend to occur when the employee being spoken to repeats themselves, runs out of ideas, or changes the subject. In other words, when this person seems to be in a dead end.

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