Effective listening can be challenging for a leader, yet many do not recognize it as such. As a leader we often feel we MUST have an opinion, and therefore, we must speak it. We feel our opinion is important and needs to be heard; that's why we're the boss, right!? Sometimes we're afraid if we don't speak it, someone else may and then we wouldn't get the credit for it. Because of this, many times we speak over each other, interrupt, or don't give pause for anyone else to interject.
Listening is an art that takes years of practice, patience, and a great deal of confidence in oneself. Truly listening risks others viewing us as non-participative or that we lack knowledge about something, cutting us right to the core of our ego. It takes grace to pause while another person has interrupted you because their point can't seem to wait. It takes humility to concede the floor to someone so desperate for attention they don't realize they are not only dominating the conversation, but controlling the narrative through their insatiable need to be heard.
The ultimate accomplishment as a leader is to listen, both to what is said and what is not said. Effective leaders listen first and last, if there is nothing said in between it may be because you are doing all the talking!