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Good leaders master the art of active listening to build trust, improve collaboration, and drive better business results.

Here’s how!

Effective communication is an essential skill for any leader, and listening is a foundational aspect of getting it right. When leaders actively listen, they build trust and strong relationships with their team members, resulting in better collaboration and teamwork.

By mastering the art of listening, a leader can gain a better understanding of their team’s perspectives, concerns, and ideas, leading to improved decision-making and better business outcomes.

Employees have valuable opinions, ideas, and perspectives that deserve to be heard. When leaders listen attentively to their employees, they foster a culture of open communication and collaboration, resulting in better teamwork and improved business results. Listening to feedback from employees can also help leaders identify areas of improvement, create a more positive work environment, and increase employee engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction.

Here are eight simple steps leaders can take to become master listeners and enhance their communication skills.

  1. Remove distractions: In today’s fast-paced business world, distractions are inevitable. However, it is crucial to remove or minimise them during a conversation to actively listen. Leaders should set an example and create a distraction-free environment during meetings and discussions.
  2. Stay focused: It is essential to stay present and fully engaged in the conversation. This means actively listening, processing, and understanding the message the other person is conveying. Leaders should give their full attention to the speaker, acknowledge them, and show that they value their time.
  3. Be empathetic: Empathy is a vital element in active listening. Leaders must put themselves in their team’s shoes and understand their perspective. By demonstrating empathy, leaders can show that they care and are willing to support their team members.
  4. Use body language for non-verbal cues: Body language plays a crucial role in communication, and leaders should be aware of their non-verbal cues. Maintaining eye contact, nodding, using positive facial expressions and open body language can show engagement and interest in the conversation.
  5. Don’t interrupt: Interruptions negatively impact a conversation and disrupt the flow. Leaders should practice patience and let the other person finish speaking before responding. This demonstrates respect and shows that their opinions are valued.
  6. Ask questions: Leaders should ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to share more information. By asking questions, like “What do you think should happen next?” or by offering validation, such as “I can see where you are coming from”, you can move the conversation forward, clarify doubts, gather more details and demonstrate a genuine interest in the conversation.
  7. Don’t be critical: Leaders should avoid criticising the other person’s opinions or perspectives. Instead, they should stay non-judgmental, actively listen, and then provide constructive feedback or a different perspective.
  8. Be honest: Honesty is crucial in communication. Leaders should express their opinions and ideas honestly and respectfully. This builds trust and credibility with the team, leading to a more transparent and productive work environment.

Like these steps to becoming a master listener? For more information on our leadership communication programs, visit our leadership programs page.


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