Successful Leaders Are Good Listeners

They obtain multiple perspectives from fellow peers and Soldiers through the proper application of effective listening skills. Having these skills will help build trust in your unit and give a leader the ability to outperform those who do not listen effectively. This essay will enable a better understanding of what listening is and ways to improve it. General Douglas MacArthur once stated, ‘A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.

He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent’. One step in acquiring these essential leadership skills is to first acknowledge the complexities that are associated with listening, believe it or not listening is a complex activity. It demands an enthusiastic response, not a passive one. If your platoon leader comes to you to task out information to conduct a mission or to conduct training, you need to listen effectively, or else it will not translate.

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You will be left feeling less confident in completing your task, which will likely result in the execution as being weak with a lack of significant results. Effective listening does not just occur, nor does it happen overnight; it takes a lot of consideration and thinking that can prove to be arduous work. You need to make a conscious effort to learn and contribute during meetings and classes. Too many Soldiers simply do not challenge their listening ability, and as a result, those Soldiers become passive, and their contributions are minimal.

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Demonstrating a willingness to listen while keeping an open mind provides a positive environment for your Soldiers and will increase cohesion within your team when seeking advice and input when planning and executing training and missions. Strive to be teachable and straightforward during your leadership. Recognize that the rank you possess demands your orders are to be followed; however, that does not fundamentally mean your way is the best.

Just because you hold rank does not mean you will always be correct, so before making any final decisions on a plan, request feedback from your peers. Your Soldiers could provide valuable input and use their experience while making any final adjustments, so consider your Soldier’s constructive criticisms with an open mind. Always be mindful that you are part of a team, not part of one individual. The art of listening takes lots of time and practice. Effective leaders master the art of ‘listening to understand’ as opposed to ‘listening to respond.’ A collective effort is needed to sharpen this craft. A study at Princeton University by Charles G. Gross found that ‘because communication unfolds over time… the speaker’s production-based processes mostly precede the listener’s comprehension-based processes, the listener’s neural dynamics will mirror the speaker’s neural dynamics with some delay’ (Stephens, G., Silbert, L., & Hasson, U. (2010)). Simply put, it takes anywhere from a few seconds to a full minute before the information clicks in someone’s brain, allowing information processing to begin.

Therefore, you need to enable them to concentrate on what you or someone else is saying before moving on so those Soldiers can formulate a proper response. It is also critical that you converse with the person you are speaking to and make them aware that you understand what they have been discussing; one way would be to establish a check on learning. Here is one example that would be useful; a Soldier comes to you because they are having issues, you need to patiently listen to all they have to say, repeat a summary of what was discussed to reinforce your listening and understanding. This provides an opportunity to interpret or verify your understanding, you can then start to come up with a solution to the problem together as a team. Overall, successful leaders are good listeners; they obtain multiple perspectives from fellow peers through the proper application of effective listening skills. This skill can build trust within your team and ensure a positive environment capable of growth not only for your Soldiers but also for yourself. If you take the time to listen to your Soldiers and work alongside them, they will see that you care about them and will be loyal under your leadership. In return, your Soldiers will follow you wherever the mission may take them because you have proven your abilities as an effective listener and, in turn, a leader worthy of their respect.

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Successful Leaders Are Good Listeners. (2021, Dec 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/successful-leaders-are-good-listeners-essay

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