The goal of leadership without authority is to get others to willingly cooperate and engage. –Carol Kinsey Goman

Last week we talked about the ability to influence others when there is no reporting structure.  Did you seriously ponder how influential you are, and did the LEAP model (Listen, Empathize, Agree and Plan) resonate at all?

Leadership styles and behaviors have changed in the past couple of decades (thankfully!). Gone are the days of dictatorial styles, and building and maintaining relationships, along with focusing on interpersonal skills seem to be more effective for driving and obtaining desired results.

Development Dimensions International, Inc has been conducting leadership studies for over 40 years and found that “only a slight majority (55 percent) of leaders feel that they and their peers are engaged in mutual influence”.

They also reported that communication skills, especially those related to listening, have ranked as the #1 skill for impacting high performance. And more specifically, listening and responding with empathy, obtain the best results.

There are 5 Listening Styles per Wiley’s Personal Listening profile:

Appreciative: Listens in a relaxed manner, seeking enjoyment, entertainment, or inspiration.
Empathic: Listens without judging, is supportive of the speaker, and learns from the experiences of others.
Comprehensive: Listens to organize and make sense of information by understanding relationships among ideas.
Discerning: Listens to get complete information, understand the main message, and determine important details.
Evaluative: Listens in order to make a decision based on information provided and may accept or reject message based on personal beliefs.

Based on the descriptions above, which sounds most like your listening style? When you read about the Empathic style, how aligned are you with that description?

Empathic listeners:

  • Provide support and reflection
  • Are patient listeners
  • Listen for emotions and feelings
  • Let others know that they care

What can you work on to increase your usage of the Empathic Listening style so your level of influence grows? Never doubt that listening takes work!

Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening.
—Mike Myatt