Leadership Lessons

The Importance of Listening

Excerpt from Why Most Leaders Need to Shut Up and Listen
by Mike Myatt

There has been much written about the importance of listening and leadership. In the article, "Why Most Leaders Need to Shut Up and Listen," written by Mike Myatt, he discusses how to build this important skill.

Below are a 6 tips for becoming a better listener:
  1. It’s not about you: Stop worrying about what you’re going to say and focus on what is being said. Don’t listen to have your opinions validated…listen to be challenged and to learn something new.
  2. You should never be too busy to listen: Anyone can add value to your world if you’re willing to listen. Wisdom doesn’t just come from peers and those above you - it can come from anywhere at anytime, but only if you’re willing to listen.
  3. Listen to non-verbals: People say as much (if not more) with their actions, inactions, body language, facial expressions, etc., as they do with their verbal communications. Don’t be lulled into thinking that because someone is not saying something they’re not communicating.
  4. Listen for opportunity: Intuitive listeners are looking for the story behind the message, and the opportunity beyond the issue. Listening is about discovery, and discovery doesn’t only impact the present, but it can also influence the future.
  5. Let listening be your calling card: One of the best compliments you can be paid is to be known as a good listener. Being recognized in this fashion will open doors, surface opportunities, and take you places that talking never could. Listening demonstrates that you respect others, and is the first step in building trust and rapport.
  6. Recognize the contributions of others: One of the most often overlooked aspects of listening is thanking others for their contributions. If you glean benefits from listening to someone, thank them. Even if no value is perceived, thank them for their time and input. Never forget to acknowledge those who contribute energy, ideas, actions or results. Few things go as far in building good will as recognizing others.


Each month, the HR Center for Learning and Leadership spotlights an excerpt from a leadership publication.

Recommendations for future leadership lessons may be submitted to askHR@baylor.edu.