Three Ways Leaders Listen With Their Heart

"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." - Peter Drucker

As an emotional intelligence performance coach, I've been trained to listen for people's feelings, not just words or ideas. And, I've witnessed hard-charging leaders..."Type A's" - are not particularly good at slowing down to listen to the heart and soul. 

When they do listen, their attitude usually displays... hurry up... deliver the bottom-line and remember... you are on the clock!

My favorite leaders are strong enough to listen. To know there are deep feelings behind the words and the story. 

Personally, I connect to being a better listener by repeated failure. I didn't get this in the 1st half of my life... it has slowly emerged in my 2nd half. 

Here are three ways leaders listen with heart: 

1. Focus on the individual, not just the ideas being expressed

Most leaders put their focus on the ideas being communicated, and they almost seem to forget about the person. You can't do that and listen with heart. 

Try to slow down and observe body language and the emotions behind the words.

2. Block out barriers

I'm always amazed at the number of leaders... in conversation glancing at computer screens, or checking smart phones. 

Here are a few barriers:

  • Distractions... dumb phones not smart phones
  • Pride... unleash empathy 
  • Narrow mindedness... open up to their genuineness
  • Assumptions... don't jump to conclusions... they're smart too!

3. Be an active listener

There is a big difference between listening passively and being an active listener. 

Recently, I was with an executive leader of a successful NFL organization. What impressed me most about his leadership was his active listening skills. He asked follow-up questions... was taking notes... and had enthusiastic body language and genuine eye contact.

There's a big difference between listening passively and listening actively. To listen with your heart, your listening has to be attentive.

 Four Take Aways

  • Forget about getting your point across - focus on understanding their point
  • Focus on understanding their feelings and emotions
  • Listen aggressively by eliminating distractions
  • The best way to persuade is with your ears

Focus this week on one way to listen with heart... your leadership influence and personal success will compound. 

Heres to building better listening skills,

Steve Gutzler

For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at: or call: (425) 681-9871.

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