Conventional wisdom says leaders should talk less and listen more. But it turns out merely staying silent isn’t enough to unlock your team’s potential.
The real key is actively cultivating a culture of listening. This means implementing systems to capture all voices, promoting debate, and empowering quiet personalities.
Apply these proven tactics from innovative companies and watch collaboration and morale soar.
Why Real Listening Matters More Than Ever
In our distracted world, attention is scarce and precious. Employees crave being heard. And listening builds the trust and insight required for executing as a unified team.
Yet many leaders focus exclusively on stating their opinions forcefully. This inhibits fresh thinking.
Steve Jobs didn’t just stay quiet – he insisted on vigorous debate. Google mandates workers spend 20% of time on passion projects. Real listening means action, not just being silent.
Listen Actively With the GSD Wheel
The GSD (“get stuff done”) wheel is a framework for active listening used by top companies. It consists of:
- Listen: Understand ideas of team members by creating a safe space.
- Clarify: Refine fuzzy notions to expose potential.
- Debate: Have rigorous discussion to stress test viability.
- Decide: Make quick but not hasty choices.
- Persuade: Get team buy-in for the decision.
- Execute: Take action and learn from outcomes.
Cycling rapidly through these steps ensures all voices are heard before executing.
Tailor Your Listening Style
Not all listening is the same. Use approaches that fit your nature:
- Quiet listening: Pause, stay neutral and give space to talk.
- Loud listening: Voice opinions strongly and push for debate.
The key is making sure both introverts and extroverts feel comfortable contributing.
Empower the Symphony of Your Team
Don’t just pretend to listen. Actually implement the systems and culture to capture your team’s symphony of ideas.
The returns for your organization will be priceless – increased innovation, better decisions, and higher morale.
So take the first step now. Gather your team and ask them: “What are your biggest unsolved problems?” Then listen actively to the answers.