Are You Listening To Your Employees?

Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships, which allows them to effectively inspire the professional development and overall performance of their teams.

Are You Listening To Your Employees?

Studies have shown that on a typical business day, we spend 45% of our time listening, 30% of our time talking, 16% reading, and 9% writing. In addition, we learn about 5% we know by listening. Therefore, listening to business context helps us to develop better relationships, expand our knowledge, be great negotiators, and detect and resolve problems faster. The reason why successful leaders are active listeners, which allows them to learn and adapt to changes. Fortunately, listening isn’t a talent that you are born with; it’s one that you develop.

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How To Improve Your Listening?

Developing your listening skills helps you to be in a better position to lead a team. Given that it allows you to build superior relationships with different people, and adapt to changes. It also allows you to better understand your employees, and thus motivate and engage them with the company. These are some tips that will help achieve this:

1. Show people that you care

Never forget that your employees are above all people. Just like you, they got families, dreams, goals, concerns, interests, etc. Therefore, everything that affects them as a person, affects them as professionals. As noted by Glenn Llopis employees want leaders who care about their general well-being and who can be depended upon during times of professional and personal hardships. Focus on the person above all, and get them to open up, this will enable you to collect useful information about them and their capabilities. When you build a relationship of trust employees will tend to work harder and aim to exceed your expectations.

2. Don't interrupt, don't get distracted, don't assume, and don't judge

Be a patient listener. The speaker should feel like he or she can pause, take a breath and go on without losing her attention. Focus on the person you’re talking to, or you may miss an important point and end up spending more time solving a resulting problem than if you’d simply listened carefully from the start. If you don’t understand what the person is saying, ask questions or paraphrase what you heard and ask for clarification. Don't judge others, instead focus on what you can learn from others. Otherwise, your team avoids sharing their opinions, concerns, or experiences if they feel they will be judged by you.

3. Ask more questions

Stop telling people what to do and start asking them their opinion about the best way to deal with an issue or get something done. When you ask people, you learn about a situation before expressing an opinion or issuing an order. It allows you to be able to capture the exact information you need to perform your job without making unfortunate mistakes. At the same time, it shows your employees you trust them. What motivates them to give their feedback on issues of the company, and on new business ideas or opportunities. When employees share their opinions ask further questions to encourage them to elaborate and expand upon their perspectives.

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4. Take notes and follow up

Nothing is more destructive to a relationship than failing to remember the conversation. Take note of the important details that you discuss with people. Document your meetings, because memory can betray you. It will allow you to follow up with your employees, and when you do, your employees will know you are listening and paying attention to what is most important to them.

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