How to Listen Like a Leader

Sep 22, 2017 1 Min Read



Listening like a leader enables you to make the world about others. An outward mindset precedes leadership. Get started:

Take out a pen and paper. Write your responses to the questions that

Writing is thinking.

Record the reason you want to improve your listening skills. Purpose energises growth. What advantages for yourself and others do you see in becoming a better listener?

Write until you record all your ideas. Wait. Write some more.

Write about the best listeners from your past. What made them good listeners? Think beyond their actions to their attitude about themselves and you. Consider their motivations.

Make a list of the best listeners on your team. Explain why they made the list. Identify three qualities, motivations, or behaviours they regularly exhibit.

Jot down one thing you might learn from the best listeners on your current team.

Take action:

Invite your team to work on their listening skills with you. Shared projects strengthen respect, elevate enjoyment, enhance follow-through, and fuel

Say: “I’m working to become a better listener. I’d like to invite you to join me.”

Schedule listening walk-abouts once a day. Take that time to walk around your office listening to people to help you learn and connect.

During the process, leave a bit of yourself with everyone you engage.

Debrief with your team. What are we learning?

Why listen:

#1. Listening saves time. Stop answering questions that aren’t being asked and solving problems that don’t exist.

#2. Talent goes to sleep when leaders give all the answers.

#3. Answer-givers end up needing to have all the answers, killing initiative.

#4. Listening strengthens connections among people.

#5. Listening is the path to learning. Growth happens in community.

Take time to listen to your people, understand their needs, recognise the value of their suggestions and your whole team stands to benefit.



Daniel Goleman is co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in organisations at Rutgers University, co-author of Primal Leadership: Leading with Emotional Intelligence, and author of The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights and Leadership: Selected Writings. His latest book is A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World. To connect with him, write to

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