7 Ways to Help Your Boss Be a Better Listener

Listening is the first step back from the abyss of lousy leadership. But what if your boss is a lousy listener?

Listening leaders are better leaders.

7 Ways to Help Your Boss Be a Better Listener:

#1. Give them the courtesy you expect to receive.

How would you like your boss to listen to you? Listen like that to them.

#2. Be brief.

Plan what you want to say. Don’t ad lib.

Plan the end before you begin. People wander at the end. They talk longer than they should because they aren’t sure how to stop talking.

Plan your last sentence.

#3. Begin with the conclusion.

  1. I would like your insight on ABC so I can XYZ.
  2. I’m working on ….
  3. I’d like to get clarity on ….

#4. Leave emotion out of the conclusion.

Tell your boss what YOU want to get done.

Make life easier for your leader. Don’t ask leaders to control things you should be doing.

Don’t expect your leader to do your job for you. 

#5. Tell the boss what they need to hear before explaining what you need to say.

  1. Show respect.
  2. Understand their concerns. If you don’t know their concerns, ask.

#6. Ask more ‘what’ questions and fewer ‘how’ questions.

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. What’s the big picture?
  3. What should I be concerned about?
  4. What are your concerns?
  5. What’s important to you right now?

You are responsible for how things get done.

Ask ‘how’ only after you’ve tried your own approach. “This is what I’ve tried, but it doesn’t seem to be working. What suggestions do you have?”

#7. Invite their reflections.

  1. I’m not sure I’m being clear. What are you hearing me say?
  2. What do you think is important to me?

Bonus: Focus on organizational interests.

What could people do to help their bosses listen better?