Did you hear me?…But did you listen to me?
Those two things may be a synonym to each other, but they have somewhat of a different meaning. Listening is much more than that. Listening means that you have comprehended the words spoken. It is much more than just sitting and giving someone full attention. Employees say they want to be heard, but they really mean is they want someone to listen to them.
For leaders it can be very challenging to know what your employees needs are. Listening itself is a full time job, and in the work-place it can really make a large difference.
1. Care, and show it.
Do not just see your employees as someone who works for you. When you put the effort to care for your employees, they will give back that effort in their work. When a person of power gives them a simple “Good job” that can boost their productivity and work quality greatly.
2. Get Involved
Find out what is important to your employees. Encourage them to share opinions, and when they do, try to ask questions. Seeing their perspective on something could be the answer to that problem you’ve been having.
Yes, it is a workplace that should be strictly work. But it is filled with stress and the weight of the day. Not everyone can deal with stress the way others can. You must make sure each employee is doing okay. Let them know you are concerned about their well-being. Don’t let that worry you that you will be put down as a leader for caring.
Most leaders don’t like to deal with the emotions, but it can be one of the most powerful listening skills.
4. No Judging
Judging is forming an opinion, and you may not know all of the facts. If someone is taking a different approach to things, don’t judge. It’s possible they learned differently, and that could be a great opportunity for you and your company. Judging can also show a weak side of your leadership skills. It may bring to light immaturity about changes.
5. Be Vigilant
Listen beyond verbal communication. Non-verbal communication can be a key to listening. Noticing facial expressions, nodding, and body language is so important in any situation. If you are not tuned in to what is around you at all times, you may miss something important.
6. No Interruptions
This is a very frequent occurrence, this can interrupt train of thought and cut short the flow of the conversation. By listening fully and completely they are gaining respect from their peers. Respecting your employees will gain their respect for you as a leader.
Effective listening is so very important, and less than 2% of professionals have had training or education to improve their listening skills. That is insane! Instead of that algebra class you had to take because you “needed” it, you could have been taking a class specifically for something you use everyday, all day!