N.Owsianowski compressedToday’s guest blogger is Nancy Owsianowski, friend of Humanergy and founder of RoundTable Consulting in South Bend, Indiana. 


“Leaders {who} refuse to listen will quickly be surrounded by people with nothing to say.”

This quote by Andy Stanley currently circulating on social media caught my eye.

There is a strong correlation between good leadership and listening. Leaders who encourage communication create authentic relationships, trust and loyalty. Leaders who listen actively, with curiosity and understanding, create work environments where employees are highly motivated, committed, and engaged. Leaders who engage people can positively impact the bottom line.

Consider the following research by Willis Towers Watson:

  • Companies with low employee engagement scores had operating margins under 10%
  • Companies with high traditional engagement scores had a 14% margin
  • Companies with the highest “sustainable engagement” scores had an average margin of 27%

Reflecting on my own career, I recall an example of a leader who dominated the floor in meetings, sharing her ideas, opinions, insights and advice. This leader rarely asked for input and quickly shut down any ideas that were not hers. After some time, employees sat quietly in meetings, contributing very little and only when asked direct questions.

Contrast that experience with another leader who actively and effectively listened, both in meetings and in daily interactions. Here, employees were fully engaged and motivated. Because they felt valued, they not only contributed freely during meetings, but also brainstormed together on a regular basis! Which of the two companies do you think has better results?

Some quick tips for listening success:

  • Start your day with a listening plan, like “I will ask 3 people for input on X, and I will focus on listening to understand.”
  • When you disagree with someone, say, “help me understand,” instead of stating a contrary perspective.
  • Begin conversations by mentally focusing on the value the other person can bring you. This will keep your mind open to hear what they have to say.


Are you listening your way to amazing results? Tell us about it by commenting below, or sending us a message here.

Photo from Dollar Photo Club.