th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

Here's the Top Overlooked Communication Skill of Great Leaders

Having meaningful conversations with your employees is critical to your company's success
By Lou Casale |

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own


As a leader or manager, it's natural to want to demonstrate your business acumen to your direct reports and colleagues. However, if you're always expressing your point of view and dominating conversations, you may be missing out on unique ideas that others are hesitant to share. In an era when everyone is trying to demonstrate their thought leadership in one form or another, you may be forgetting to listen -- one of the most powerful communication tools a leader can use to drive engagement and build trust.



Being the more vocal person in a conversation is an easy trap to fall into as a business leader. When you run a business, you're accustomed to others looking to you for advice, ideas and coaching. As a result, you may feel the need to consistently deliver interesting and insightful nuggets of wisdom that will leave everyone wanting more. However, you cannot be everywhere in the company at once. Your reports and others will be aware of issues and opportunities that you don't see, and for the company to be successful, their voices, concerns and ideas need to be heard. Put simply, if you're not collaborating with members of your team, you will most likely end up with a room full of "yes-people," and that is not the best way to develop an innovative, diverse and successful business.


Listening to your employees will remind both you and your employees that everyone's input is valued, and all contributions play a role in the company's success. It's not a one-way but a two-way, multidimensional conversation between you and your team.

Here are some ways you can make sure the conversations in your company are more engaging and productive.



Set employees up for success

Ask everyone to come to meetings with ideas in writing. Encourage participants to speak up with any ideas they have -- no matter how outrageous they may seem. Sometimes an idea that could never work can spark enough conversation to turn into an idea that makes a big difference.




Make sure you are creating an environment for listening

Close your laptop and put away the smartphone. Focus your complete attention on the person who is speaking and ask clarifying questions. Make sure everyone in the room has a chance to both speak and listen. CEOs aren't the only ones who benefit from listening -- it will help all of your employees better understand the business and the challenges that lie ahead.



Ask great questions

Great questions will illicit great responses and ideas. If you ask strong questions, you will learn more about your colleagues and the facets of the business you may be less involved with on a day-to-day basis. Thought-provoking questions will also help the person who is responding to learn and discover things they may not have realized.



Make sure issues that arise are delegated to people who can solve them

Communicate priorities so that everyone knows which problems or projects are the most important. Encourage the appropriate people to provide their input on the prioritization of these issues as well. Follow up with the group or provide status updates as appropriate.



Recognize your colleagues who suggest new ideas or solutions

Providing positive reinforcement to those who share ideas and execute on projects will result in more collaborative conversations in the future.


By being a good listener, you will become a better leader and build more meaningful relationships with your employees. You will build trust and connectedness within your organization as you set out to achieve your vision and goals. By demonstrating that you are listening and acting upon your employees' suggestions and ideas, you empower them to present new and interesting solutions to the problems your business faces. In the end, everybody learns and wins.






This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been done by the editors

Latest Articles

Here's Why I Send a Thank-You Message to Someone Who Helped Me or My Company Every Day

I believe leaders should practice gratitude more often

byJanet Comenos | March 20, 2018 02:00:00

The Science of the First Impression: 5 Elements of a Great First Impression

The first impression informs how you're thought of well beyond the first moment, so get it right

byCarolyn Sun | March 20, 2018 00:00:00

PH Wins Japan’s Biggest Soft Funding Package with $934-M Loan for Phase 1 of Subway from QC to Taguig

Loan carries interest of 0.01-0.10 percent and payable in 40 years, inclusive of 12-year grace...

byElyssa Christine Lopez | March 19, 2018 19:00:00

Grab, Uber Users Cut Use of Own Car, Less Inclined to Buy Future Vehicle

Survey provided by Grab indicates that ride-sharing services are starting to impact car use and...

byPauline Macaraeg | March 19, 2018 11:00:00

Did You Know 8 of Top 10 Unit Investment Trust Funds Last Year are Index Funds?

Asset managers urge investors to consider these passive funds that posted an average ROI of 23.2%...

byPauline Macaraeg | March 19, 2018 10:00:00

Whatever Happened to the LTFRB’s Plan to Push Taxis to Modernize as Condition for Fare Hikes?

Order requiring cabs to install hailing apps, GPS, dashboard camera and even free Wi-Fi has yet to...

byElyssa Christine Lopez | March 19, 2018 09:00:00

6 Trends Shaping a Future for People in the Workplace

The most important aspect of emerging technologies is how people and organizations put them to work

byJulien Codorniou | March 19, 2018 08:00:00

The Simple Secret to Creating (Seemingly) More Than 24 Hours In Your Day

It all boils down to mindset

byRaj Jana | March 19, 2018 06:00:00

PH Ranks Near Bottom in List of Best Countries For Young Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

Set yourself up for success abroad

byLydia Belanger | March 19, 2018 02:00:00

Are You Ready to Start a Company? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Do you have what it takes to be a leader?

byCassandra Frangos | March 19, 2018 00:00:00

by |

5 Components to Succeeding at Anything

Answer this question: 'What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?'

byLuci Lampe | March 18, 2018 08:00:00