During a recent Leadership Forum, Council Advisory Board Member Etienne Roux, Senior Vice President, Operations & Sustainability, Weatherford, discussed the power of active listening in becoming a better leader.
Throughout his career, Roux recognized people often advance with an extroverted approach. However, respected leaders in high-level positions don’t typically use this approach. Roux said he believes seasoned executives learn to become more active listeners rather than someone who is always speaking, lecturing or dominating the conversation. Although it’s difficult work, Roux said everyone can become a better, more active listener by using available tools and an intentional, disciplined approach.
“When we become better listeners in our meetings, more efficient and better operations happen within our companies.”Advisory Board Member Etienne Roux, Weatherford
Roux said that over the past year, virtual meetings often had individuals present but not always engaged because of others talking too much, or distractions and derailers. This results in reduced efficiency and frustration.
“The reality is when you are not listening, people know it and in turn can feel marginalized and that their opinion does not carry weight with you,” Roux said.
Acknowledging refining active listening skills takes work, Roux shared insights that helped him improve active listening on a continual basis. He said there are three levels of listening, that it’s essential to listen to comprehend rather than criticize, and to avoid asking “why” questions. He said one of the challenges to active listening is that the brain moves faster than the spoken word. Still, connecting to these methods can improving active listening and bring individuals to the next level as leaders.
Roux fielded questions from the participants, touching upon topics such as how to interject effectively and appropriately while listening and how to ask clarifying questions. He also shared recommendations for books and videos he found helpful in his journey.
“Your path to success is going to be largely predicated on your ability to listen better and speak less,” Roux said. “You have to actively practice these methods. And, in my view, listening and acknowledging input is the ultimate way of paying respect to those around you.”
The Leadership Forum series, now in its seventh year, provides high performers with the opportunity to interact with Council Leadership in an informal setting. Check the Energy Workforce Upcoming Events for information on our next forum.
Peggy Helfert, Senior Director Programs and Events, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.