Listening for Innovative and Creative Problem Solving

Listening gets less respect it seems in the discussion and development of management and leadership skills!

Listening is in fact the underrated skill that most managers and leaders need to develop and use more often. It is also critical for innovative and creative problem solving.

In fact, most managers and leaders  improve their effectiveness by simply listening more — listening to understand. Observing highly effective managers and leaders will show that they are good listeners.  They actively listen to everyone who has any involvement or perspective on a situation or problem. They want and encourage feedback.

If you want to improve your managerial and leadership effectiveness immediately, start listening to those around you more. Surprisingly, this same dynamic holds true for creative and innovative thinking!  Managers who become good listeners often achieve breakthrough solutions to the problems they meet in the workplace.

Listening—the great underrated skill of management and leadership effectiveness—is also the great underrated skill of creative and innovative thinking!

How can you use listening to achieve creative and innovative solutions?

Here’s how you can do strategic listening with your organizational stakeholders (peers, boss, customers, senior leadership):

  1. Identify all of the stakeholders who have some involvement with the problem or issue you face.
  2. Focus your attention on what these stakeholders are saying.
  3. Use active listening skills and good questioning techniques to gather as much information as you can from these stakeholders about the problem or issue you face.

With active listening, you can make others become your advisors and consultants without every paying them.  You  also get valuable information to spark your own creative and innovative thinking.

When you want feedback from organizational stakeholders: identify those who have involvement with your issue, make your focus understanding their perspective, use questioning and active listening to probe further. Click To Tweet

Here’s how you can do strategic listening with your employees:

  1. Encourage your team members to express their ideas and concerns.
  2. Create an environment where your team members are comfortable disagreeing (professionally) with each other and with you in support of the best solutions for operational matters.
  3. Make a point of listening more to your team members and asking them questions than telling them what to do.
When you want feedback from your employees: encourage them to share their ideas and concerns, create a positive environment for constructive disagreement, ask questions and listen more than you speak. Click To Tweet

With active listening, you will gain valuable feedback that will help you to lead your group in the right direction. You also improve motivation and team building as you show your employees that you value their perspectives.

The next time you move quickly to solve a problem ask yourself the following: Who have I sought out to question and listen for their input on how to solve this problem?

If the answer is no one, then you are missing one of your most obvious and most effective tools for achieving creative and innovative solutions to your workplace problems.

Take some time to stop and listen to other knowledgeable people to get your best results!

Written by Robert Tanner | Copyrighted Material | All Rights Reserved Worldwide

This article is accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge.
Content is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional advice in business, management, legal, or human resource matters.

Robert Tanner, MBA

Welcome to my leadership blog. I'm the Founder & Principal Consultant of Business Consulting Solutions LLC, a certified practitioner of psychometric assessments, and a former Adjunct Professor of Management. As a leadership professional, I bring 20+ years of real world experience at all levels of management.

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