Are you listening?

Posted 03.20.2008


If you’re a new executive, chances are you face your share of meetings with senior management. In your eagerness to show your value, the temptation is always great to dive in with your own take. Next time the urge hits you, aim for active listening instead. Here’s a six-step approach on how to pull off active listening — and move toward a custom-fit approach to communication that furthers effective leadership. Among the key steps is asking “open-ended, clarifying and probing questions.” Here’s the takeaway:

Open-ended questions draw people out and encourage them to expand their ideas (i.e., "What are your thoughts on …" or "What led you to draw this conclusion?")

Most importantly, open-ended questions help you discover what’s really important to your organization’s most senior executives. So, take the time to ask what success looks like to them. Then, align your actions with their definition of it.