Companies lose money everyday from simply not listening. A hundred here, a thousand there—time is crucial, and there’s just not enough hours in a day to solve the world’s problems. But, creating poor listening skills can lead to assumptions and ineffective decisions. On a more intimate level, it can cause hurt, resentment and lack of team connection. It’s time to open your ears and manage your team.
Avoid this motto: “Everyone wants to be heard—grab a ticket and get in line.”
Six points to improve your listening skills:
- Add listening to your task list. Making yourself a daily reminder will keep this on the forefront of your mind and help you be prepared when people need an issue resolved.
- Be approachable. Employees feel comfortable and secure when their boss has a reputation for caring about the needs of their people. Building relationships is a great tool to help your workers feel comfortable around you.
- Focus on the other person. In that moment, be fully present in the conversation. Build those connections with the little time you have and in the long-run it will payoff.
- Make eye contact. Nothing says “I don’t care” like someone who has poor body language. Carry yourself in a way that is deemed respectable. Strive to make others feel that they are talking with you and not at you.
- Give confirmation on what you perceived. Summarize what you have discussed with your employee back to your back to them. This let’s them know you’ve got the details.
- Have follow-up conversations. Go the extra mile to secure the faith of your employees. Let them know their request was either taken care of, or in the process of being completed.
Fear is one of the greatest obstacles standing in the way of having an effective working environment. As a leader having the shortfall of listening skills, your employees will never see you as a solution, but the problem. When people lack faith in you, they lack confidence in the purpose of their work, and in the company. Don’t let your hearing be passive; make it a conscious choice to stop and listen.