Three Ways Leaders Can Listen with More Empathy

Techniques to help you hear, process, and respond.


Study after study has shown that listening is critical to leadership effectiveness. So, why are so few leaders good at it?


Too often, leaders seek to take command, direct conversations, talk too much, or worry about what they will say next in defense or rebuttal.  Additionally, leaders can react quickly, get distracted during a conversation, or fail to make the time to listen to others.  Finally, leaders can be ineffective at listening if they are competitive, if they multitask such as reading emails or text messages, or if they let their egos get in the way of listening to what others have to say.


Instead, leaders need to start by really caring about what other people have to say about an issue. Research also shows that active listening, combined with empathy or trying to understand others’ perspectives and points of view is the most effective form of listening.  Henry Ford once said that if there is any great secret of success in life, it lies in the ability to put oneself in another person’s place and to see things from his or her point of view –as well as from one’s own.

by Christine M. Riordan