After reviewing the thousands of case studies I’ve compiled during my Topgrading tenure, I’ve found that when coaching managers, my single most common recommendation — other than to become a Topgrader — is to use active listening a lot more. Are you regarded by your team as even one of the following — a mediocre team player, disrespectful, a “know-it –all,” excessively impatient, a poor listener, low in emotional intelligence, autocratic, publically berating people, stingy with praise, or excessive with criticism? If so, use Active Listening 20 times per day and within months you will be perceived as a much more effective leader. Listening is simply grasping what the other person is saying. Active listening is playing back to the person what you heard, engaging in a dialog to really understand not just the words, but the meaning behind them, and the feelings, emotions, and passion underlying what is said.