Being a good listener is vital to a leader’s success.
But many people take their listening skills for granted. We often assume it’s clear that we’re practicing active listening and that others know they are being heard — but a conversation is more than just words.
The reality is that we as leaders often struggle with tasks and roles that directly relate to active listening. Accepting criticism well, dealing with people’s feelings, and trying to understand what others think and feel all require effective listening skills.
Fortunately, knowing how to talk less and listen more — how to listen to understand — is a skill that can be learned.
Listening to understand is a valuable technique that requires the listener to thoroughly absorb, understand, respond, and retain what is being said during a conversation.
While engaging in active listening, the listener may also pay close attention to the speaker’s behavior and body language in order to gain a better understanding of their message and intent.
When you listen to understand, it helps you to become a better manager of others and a more effective communicator. Your co-workers and direct reports will respect you more, interpersonal conflicts will be reduced, and you’ll likely see improvements in your relationships with others as a result.
Our research-based active listening training course equips your leaders to learn and practice effective listening so they truly listen to understand others. They will:
1. Learn to listen to the speaker, not just the facts being shared, but the values and emotions behind the facts.
2. Know specifically what to do, or to avoid doing, to be a better listener.
3. Avoid misunderstandings, build trust, and minimize wasted time.
4. Use their superpowers of Listening to Understand to resolve conflicts.
Help your team get more done at your organization and build a culture of respect and trust by equipping them with effective listening skills. We can deliver our world-class, research-backed active listening workshops and content on Listening to Understand — or you can.
We can equip your facilitators to deliver an active listening workshop or internal training either online or in person, whichever you prefer:
Access everything your internal HR or team leaders need to upskill your people by holding a leadership workshop on this topic
Or, we can incorporate an active listening training course as part of a larger leadership development initiative for your organization:
Organizations who have partnered with us to upskill their people’s ability to listen to understand consistently tell us the same thing: their experience with CCL made a significant impact on their culture — and their bottom line.
But don’t just take our word for it — take theirs.
“Before, it was all about efficiencies, operational excellence, and profit margins. Those are still top priorities at Copa, but a new focus has been added: It’s about people and people and people.”
Corporate Learning & Development Director
“This was such a wonderful opportunity. I have practiced the Better Conversations techniques at my workplace and I’ve already seen results with improved relationships and conversations! I’ve put listening first. The program is excellent.”
Our experts are here to help. Let’s have a conversation about how an active listening training course for your organization and our Listen to Understand content could help support your development initiatives.
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Listening to understand is an important communication skill, especially for leaders. The most successful leaders are those who can engage in effective listening and demonstrate strong emotional intelligence. By doing so, they are better equipped to address conflict, accept criticism, navigate relationships, and understand different perspectives. Listening to understand includes being closely attuned to the speaker’s body language and non-verbal behaviors to understand not only what is being said, but also the emotions and values underlying the facts. Lastly, knowing how to listen to understand is especially important because it helps leaders build trust and earn respect from their coworkers and teammates.
A good leader must be a good listener in order to be successful. However, the reverse isn’t always true. For example, being a good listener is a vital skill for any leader, but leaders must also hone other core leadership skills. At CCL, our decades of experience and research have found that every leader, regardless of role, should have the fundamental 4 skills including self-awareness, communication, influence, and learning agility.
The best way to listen to understand others is to practice the 6 key active listening skills. First, you must pay attention to what’s being said, and give the speaker a chance to express themselves. Second, you must keep an open mind and withhold judgment. Next, practice reflection by periodically paraphrasing the speaker’s key points to make sure you’re following. Then, clarify and summarize what you heard by asking questions and giving a brief statement that covers the conversation’s core themes. Finally, after the speaker is done talking and you have a clear understanding of their perspective, you can begin to share your own ideas, feelings, and suggestions. To hone these skills, you may want to take a research-based effective listening training or active listening workshop like our proven Listen to Understand training.
More questions? Our experts are here to help. Let’s have a conversation!
Package our research-backed Listen to Understand content with other proven leadership development topics and solutions for a customized, scalable solution perfect for your organization’s unique needs, context, and culture. Related topics include: