Good listening skills are a basic part of leadership in any field. Great leaders listen to their associates and make them feel that their thoughts have been given consideration. While examples of past leaders with good listening skills abound, one recent politician comes to mind as a particularly good one.
Regardless of your political point of view, Bill Clinton was a leader whose listening abilities were his greatest asset. Even those in opposition to him politically remarked that being one-on-one with him was an enjoyable time because he made them feel that he was 100% interested in what they were saying. President Clinton had such an easy way about him with eye contact, body language, and comprehension of their issues that he disarmed them.
When individuals have the opportunity to speak directly to someone who leads them, politically or otherwise, the attentiveness afforded them is all important. A good listener seems to give real importance to the issues within a conversation. Never would a good listener give the impression that any issue is already decided, even if it is!
Almost everyone has had an occasion when they have had an audience with someone in a leadership position in their workplace. Regardless of the issue that may have prompted the meeting, it is rewarding to have the opportunity to be "heard" by the boss. Even if attempts to change something fail, it feels good to communicate to a superior if one feels that they were heard fairly.
Good listening skills are useful beyond business leadership areas. All areas of interaction with other individuals benefit by the skills of good listening. Many marriage issues arise because of poor listening skills. Salespeople often miss opportunities to sell their products because of not really listening to their customers. This list could go on, and on.
Those who wish to improve their abilities in this area must remember that the person speaking does so with a purpose. As such, it has importance to them. Being sympathetic to the ideas of others is key, because once that sympathy has been conveyed, everyone feels that "they have been heard". The satisfaction with having been heard engenders good feelings towards the listener.
Anyone who has a leadership position with their peers can improve their leadership qualities by becoming better listeners. Instead of simply responding to input from co-workers, invite input from them. A few moments of listening to their concerns is time well invested as a rule. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to express themselves.