Great Leaders are Great Listeners

Being a leader comes with certain qualities.  More often than not people assume that the most important qualities of a leader are his ability to inspire, have problem-solving skills, or delegate responsibilities. All these are good qualities but listening is a very vital quality of a leader.

A few years ago, I observed a change in the behavioral pattern of a member of my team, a once outgoing and articulate person suddenly became withdrawn, started missing deadlines, and stopped socializing with coworkers.  I observed for a couple of more weeks and decided to speak up and find out the problem. At first, there was a refusal to speak and a constant “everything is fine sir”, I made her understand that my doors would always be open and I would always be there to listen if she ever wanted to open up. After a couple of weeks, she decided to open up about her struggle with depression, I knew immediately all she needed was an ear.

After she was done, I shared some of my past experiences with her to make her understand that her situation wasn’t unique to her and there are lots of people that have passed through similar situations and what they did to overcome it. I made sure she sought professional help and in a matter of days, she began returning to her old cheerful self.  I can never forget the words she told me after a while “Thank you, sir, for listening to me, very few people listen.”

From that day I adopted a different definition of leadership that goes beyond inspiring and delegating responsibilities and centered around the ability to show empathy and listen attentively.

There are lots of people in your organization too struggling with work or personal challenges and looking for someone to Just Listen, and guess what? You don’t have to be CEO to lead

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