Mustang Leadership: Stop Talking and Listen to Your People (Part 3)

Mustang Leadership: Stop Talking and Listen to Your People (Part 3)

Quick and actionable tips that will make you a better listener and leader. 

Welcome back to “Mustang Leadership,” an engaging blog series where you will gain valuable insights and practical advice on leadership.

When you imagine a leader, do you picture traits such as decisiveness, assertiveness, extrovert, etc.? 

I mean — honestly, aren’t these the type of people who jump at leadership opportunities first? 

Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify them as leaders. 

Leadership is all about influence. 

A leader casts a vision, compelling others toward a path of uncertainty. 

It doesn’t matter if someone is the most charismatic person or quiet. 

Gaining influence starts with one key trait— listening. 

In this post, we will discuss why effective leaders elect to listen to their teams first. I’ll also provide you with some practical tips and suggestions for developing this skill. 

Happy reading. 

Photo by Markus Spiske at

1. Stop Talking so Much

Ever sit in a meeting where the leader does all of the talking?

In your first couple of interactions, you probably won’t notice too much about it but next time — look around the room. 

You will notice that most of the people are disengaged, not collaborating, and waiting to escape. 

The truth is that leaders who talk excessively hinder their ability to gain others’ perspectives and valuable input. 

People quit their bosses, not their job.

Listening creates an opportunity to build trust and meaningful relationships within a team. 

When you elect to listen first, your actions are saying: 

“I trust and value what you bring to the table”. 

It also makes your followers feel valued. 

Photo by Yan Krukau at

Great leaders recognize that they don’t have all the answers. By listening to different perspectives and seeking diverse viewpoints, leaders can make informed decisions that consider the collective wisdom of their team.

Listening is a great tactic for improving your decision-making.

An excellent example of this approach is Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. 

He held Q&A sessions, utilized employee surveys, engaged in Town Hall meetings, encouraged social collaboration, and simply walked around and talked to employees across all levels of the company. 

Why? He recognized the value of having an inclusive team. 

Photo by Salvatore De Lellis at

2. Tips for Practicing Active Listening

This list is not all-inclusive but serves as a good memory jogger. 

  1. Have a 1-on-1 conversation in a quiet location
  2. Maintain eye contact
  3. Stay curious — make it your goal to learn as much as possible
  4. Be disciplined — silence the thoughts in your head. 
  5. Give non-verbal cues (Shake your head, grin, etc.) 
  6. Paraphrase and summarize what they said
  7. Ask clarifying questions to gain deeper understanding
  8. Be empathetic. Save your judgment and answers (This is hard). 
  9. Be mentally present
  10. Be patient — see #7
  11. Reflect on conversations

Leaders — “Listen” to your team. They have ideas, experience, and perspectives you don’t. 

Speak when needed, listen always. 

Keep leading! 

Previous Posts:
Part 1: “Build Your Leadership Foundation”

Part 2: “Follow Before You Lead”

My book: 


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