One of the key skills that is often lost with the pressure of time is listening - I know it is with me ! A poem that I always keep close at hand by Ralph Roughton always helps me focus:
When I ask you to listen to me and you start by giving me advice, you have not done what I asked, When I ask you to listen to me and you begin by telling me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings. When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to solve my problems, you have failed me. Listen ! All I ask is that you listen, not talk or do...just hear me. When you do something for me that I can do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy. When you accept as simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational then I can quit trying to convinve you and get about the business of understanding whats behind this irrational feeling.
This week take time to listen - the issue usually lies behind the words. Listening helps you to understand and listening is one of the most motivational aspects of management.