When people are asked what are the traits of a great leader, listening is usually at the top of the list. If you are a leader and need to improve your listening, do the following three things consciously until they become a habit (takes about 6 months of practicing).
1. Stop multi-tasking – Being on your cell phone or computer while talking with someone (even if you hear what they say and repeat it) shows the other person you are not really listening.
2. Stop interrupting and shut up – Hijacking a conversation with what you want to say shows you are not listening.
3. Be there – Stop daydreaming and really focus on what people are saying. Focus on what they are saying and not on yourself or what you want to say.
Practice, practice, practice and you will not just be a better listener you will be a better leader, dad, mom, friend, co-worker, etc. To test if you are listening better ask someone you trust to tell you how you are progressing (get feedback).