It’s popular these days to want to become a better leader. Ambitious business executives are increasingly aware of the enormous benefits of strong leadership skills. You influence more, win more trust and engage persuasively with those that matter.

However, a major mistake made by most leaders is their focus on the talking aspect of communication. They tend to want to impress others with their dazzling communication skills. And what they forget to do is simply listen.

Truly great leaders are not just dynamic and strategic; they are also intuitive listeners. They know that the best way to gain wisdom is not by talking, but by listening to others at a deeper level. Such rare individuals are adept at reading between the lines to what is NOT being said. They can walk into a room, read the energy and re-engage even the most hard-to-reach people.

No matter how articulate you are, if your engagement isn’t advancing your vision, developing your team, or otherwise adding value to your stakeholders, then it could be that your ability to listen needs fine-tuning.

Time to stop talking and instead create space to listen. And, as you start listening powerfully, watch team morale, performance and, ultimately, your business grow.

Learn to:


Good communications are two-way. Don’t speak at someone – speak WITH them. Don’t monologue, dialogue. The best way to do this is to ask open-ended questions to get your counterparts talking. These are “what” and “how” questions which allow your counterpart to open up a little.


Listen to understand so you can attune better to what others think, feel and genuinely want to communicate. Develop a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s point of view. Everyone wants to be understood. If you feign listening and simply want your moment to get your opinion in, then disconnection will be the result. People will not trust a person who is simply trying to dominate a conversation.


Embrace the silence in any conversation so that you not only signal strength, but become strong. In the pause, you can resist unhelpful outside pressure and better evaluate your responses. It will show that you are thoughtful and cannot be pushed easily into any position.


Pay attention to the non-verbal expressions of others. Hear with your eyes as well as your ears. Learn to read people behind the words they use so you can choose a more accurate response given their secret motives.


Every conversation, no matter how difficult, has within it a story and potential opportunity for growth – but, only if you listen for it. Listen for the lesson. What nugget can you learn from this person?


Learn to welcome dissent. Listen to those that confront you, challenge you, stretch you and develop you. Because being defensive only raises barriers. Even the most seemingly negative people may have something to teach us. We do not have to agree, but never make the mistake of thinking that there is nothing to learn. And, remember that those we perceive as our biggest enemy can actually become our strongest ally; but only if we look for the common ground.


Create an atmosphere of belonging, connection and warmth at work. “Inclusion” means allowing for diversity of thought and not only for one way of thinking. So build all people up, never crush anyone. We are all vulnerable, even the most hardened. Learn to speak to the humanity in people so that you create respect, loyalty and a workplace that everyone loves to be a part of.


Great talkers are a dime a dozen but great listeners are a rare commodity.

Listening intently to another person is one of the highest compliments you can pay them. And it also allows you to gather crucial intel to help strengthen your organisation.

So, become a truly great leader who knows the value of listening.

As The Godfather always said: “They talk when they should listen”.

– Don Corleone