Executives succeed, in part, by being good listeners, hearing their employees’ concerns and questions, and responding in kind.

The Random Acts of Leadership blog suggests leaders can improve this quality by focusing on giving their teams enough time to answer when they ask questions, even in the face of awkward silence. This rule especially applies when an executive is addressing large groups.

“The bigger the group, the longer the pause can be. It is uncomfortable, and our tendency is to want to jump in and fill the space,” the blog item notes, adding that silence while waiting for a question to be answered is “a way to practice how you can speak less and listen more.”

That waiting time for an answer can be awkward, the blog item admits, but it is extremely important, especially with larger groups.

“As group size increases, the discomfort for many people to actually answer your question also increases,” according to the blog posting. “They may need even a little more time to muster up the courage or to formulate their answer so they can speak confidently.”

The full blog item is “3 Steps to Listen Better so You Hear More” and it can be accessed at this link.