When someone says to you “listen to me”, do you really know how to do it?
Far too many people let the words float in one ear and out of the other but that’s not true listening at all. When you really listen, you don’t just hear the words and interpret them, you also take into account body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact (or lack of) and a myriad of other clues that come together to create a full picture.
This is called active listening and it’s something all managers need to know how to do.
Check out this video which gives a very good demonstration of active listening between a manager and employee.
The role of a manager requires a lot of different skills but being able to really listen to your employees and understand their true meaning will stand you in great stead. A good manager doesn’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions, a good manager ascertains the facts and works with the employee to solve the problem.
At the end of the day, being able to listen to your employees is the very least you can do. You need your employees to know that if they have a problem, they can come and knock on your door and that you’ll sit down with them and talk things through. That means letting them say that they need to say and listening to every word carefully.
When a manager doesn’t do this, morale within the workplace quickly falls. That’s when the real problems start too - when employees don’t feel listened to, you can’t expect them to want to work hard for you as a manager. You’re showing them that you don’t appreciate them and that you don’t value them. In that situation, who is going to want to work extra hard for that type of manager? Nobody!
It’s not just about listening when someone knocks on your door either, it’s also about regularly asking employees for suggestions on how things could be improved and actually taking on board what they say. If you can do that, you’re showing them that you’re not only a good manager, but you’re someone who genuinely wants to make their working experience better.