Self Awareness Leadership – 7 Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Self awareness leadership is about identifying where you would like to do better.  One place to focus, is on how to be a better listener.  Great listening is often a precursor to great leading.

Be a Better ListenerA key component of self awareness in leadership is recognizing when you are able to hear the nuances of an other’s communication.  When you understand better – you are able to serve better.

Understanding someone’s underlying needs and values,  and then being able to best meet those needs in servant leadership – can be one of those great gifts we can give to another.

Yet, it’s not just about listening more and talking less.

Here are 7 tips on how to be a better listener:

1. Listen to yourself first.   Is there something you need to clear or take care of so that you can be a great listener? If you are exhausted or have your own stuff going on; sometimes the best form of self management is to admit it’s not the best time for you to listen. Take the time to clear things for yourself first, so that you can be an empty vessel for the other person’s expression.

If your vessel is already full;  it’s really hard to give empathy to another when you haven’t yet given it to yourself.

2. Be really present.  If you find you are crafting your response “BEFORE” the other person is finished speaking; it’s a sign that you are not being 100% present with them.   It’s easy to forget that we can think a lot faster than we can talk.  Realizing we still have plenty of time to create a response “after” they have completed their expression, is key.

Being 100% in your personal presence also allows you to listen more from non-judgmental awareness. You can then understand the other person rather than to achieve either agreement from or change in that person.

3. Use Verbal cues to demonstrate you are listening.  The words and the vocal tone you use to express yourself, can show the other with a verbal acknowledgement you are both hearing and understanding their communication.   It’s very common for some folks to have a “need” to be heard.

Demonstrating that you do indeed hear them – can be a wonderful gift.  You can use such verbal cues such as expressing empathy, re-stating the essence of what you heard, or helping the other person  to expand their own thinking.

4. Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate you are listening. Subtle body language like “leaning in” can be very soothing to the person you are listening to.  This kind of body geography also gives you greater access to your own feeling senses as well.

5. Listen to more than just the words.  Listen for meaning , values and needs.  When you get to really understand the intention for their communication as well as their possible desires for fulfilment – it then gives you lots of opportunity to recognize how you can be of service.

When you understand what is truly important to someone – it’s a lot easier to serve with effectiveness and compassion.

6. Support the others’ self expression. The best way to support an other’s self expression is to listen as if you where in their shoes.  When you take an empathetic stance– you gain a desire to follow their path instead of projecting your own feelings and ideas onto the other person.  It allows you to be open and non protective, so that you can more easily focus on the other person.

It also provides the opportunity to imagine the perspectives and experiences of the other person; rather than just assuming they are the same as your own.

7. Use silence effectively. Allowing someone to vent or clear with their expression can often give the other the space to move forward with greater certainty  faster than if you had filled the space with words.  Using exercises, like a mindful listening exercise is a great way to practice silence while listening to different levels of communication.

Listen for people to say to you, “I loved our conversation”  when you become a better listener.

What additional tips do you have to help someone learn how to listen better?

Here is a link a great exercise from Kevin Eikenberry from http://blog.kevineikenberry.com   on how to take a listening tour

Personal Leadership Abundance for Your Body

Body Abundance

An overflowing fullness or ample sufficiency is often how people describe abundance.  In Personal Leadership, body abundance is about having an awareness of what is in scarcity and then filling the void appropriately. (Underline Appropriately)

Body abundance is not about creating stores of weight. It’s about self nurturing. Here are 7 perspectives around how to nurture your  personal leadership body abundance:

1. See your body as your very,very best friend.

The shift to thinking of your body, as a very,very best friend will remind you to honour, respect and cherish your body, to serve yourself tasty, healthy, appropriate nutrient dense food that you mindfully eat. When you think of your body as your very best friend – you will for sure pay attention to it every single day.

If for years, you were like me and you tried and didn’t quite resonate with the mantra “My body is my temple” . There is new hope.   That small disconnect you felt, may have just been about the language.   Instead, when you now hear yourself say “”my body as my best friend” something may shift inside you.  You are not alone in this world – in possible treating your best friends so much better than you  sometimes treat yourself.   If there is alternate language that works for you, use it.

When you create a connection – to a very meaningful, full relationship, and it can be what ever works for you, relationship with your body is transformed to a more abundant mindset – and you will notice – something will shift.

2.  Appreciate & maybe even ask for forgiveness

Thanking your body for all the years it has served you, for holding and housing your spirit so well seems like a natural fit for abundant thinking about your body.

How well and how frequently do you actually do this?

If you have always just expected your body to “be there for you” – and in moments, or days when you are injured or ill – sometimes you haven’t  had very appreciating thoughts of your body, rather than chastising your body for when it fails you… It can be an emotionally expanding exercise to sit down and write a letter of appreciation for your body and to include requests for forgiveness for all the times – you did not honour it, cherish it, nourish it or respect it’s needs.

3. Build the right reserves

Again it’s not about gaining weight.   It’s about building reserves.  Reserves in flexibility, balance, strength, aerobic capacity, and even nutrients.

It’s about doing things not to eek by – but it is really about doing things so you have extra capacity.

When you are building resources in body abundance you are pursuing personal mastery in the activities that will bring you the by-products of the reserves.

4. Mindfulness and personal presence

There is a “how” of being a personal leader around Body Abundance. It’s about being very present with your body. Mindfulness of your grace, of your practices and of the messages your body sends back to you.  No more can your body just be a way to bring your head to meetings.

The call here is to be so mindful and present that you always are in a place of awareness in regards to your body.

5.  Monitor for “ENUF”

When we are present and mindful – the “ENUF” button is easily accessible.  It’s when we are unconscious about what we are doing that we often miss out on seeing this body fulfillment line.  When we over indulge and take more than we need, it’s because we are not present to this enuf line.

When we are too thrifty – and don’t reach the enuf line – often it is because we have forgotten our body – and forgotten to have that very, very, best friend respect for it.

6. Allow your divine gifts, natural talents and personal needs to be expressed

When you restrict your self expression in any way often this is because there is a desire for validation outside of yourself.  When you instead see yourself as not needing validation, or love from outside yourself – but rather – love all that you are – and appreciate and allow to flourish you divine gifts -this  is when you are living in a body abundant perspective.

7. Re-align to your purpose

Body Abundance and all other types of Abundance are directly related to our personal fulfillment.  When you align with who you are, and what you bring to the world – you have the greatest access to abundance.