The problem with listening is that you can do it properly or you can pretend you’re doing it but actually do the total opposite.
A huge part of effective communication is actually listening to your employees, but also showing them that you’re listening. When you feel that someone is listening to you and is really paying attention, you’re far more likely to engage with them more deeply and in this case, work harder as a result.
So, if listening to your employees is a huge benefit (of course it is), then how can you make it clear to your employees that you’re not just letting their words float into one ear and out of the other?
Check out this video on how to listen better, before we delve into 5 ways you can actually show your employees that their words matter to you.
Ask for Opinions And Ideas
The first step is to actively ask for ideas and opinions. If you don’t ask, you have nothing to actually listen to in the first place!
Follow up on Suggestions Made
Once you’re given an idea or a suggestion, make sure you follow up on it by actually working out whether its viable or not. If it’s not, and not all ideas will be, explain to the employee that you value their idea and give them a reason why you’re not moving ahead with it this time.
Use Good Suggestions And Give Credit
When good ideas come your way, actually move forward with them and give credit to the person that came up with the original idea in the first place. Yes, the final outcome might not be 100% their idea, because things are changed and altered as a plan is put together, but you should certainly credit the person who got the ball rolling.
Ask Questions And Delve Into Suggestions
When an idea comes your way, ask questions about it and delve more deeply into it, to work out whether it’s something that your business can use or not. When you do this, you show your employees that you’re keen to learn more and that helps them to feel positive about the idea they’ve generated.
Be Careful of Your Body Language
Whenever you’re communicating with anyone, employees, customers, or anyone else, make sure that your body language shows that you’re paying attention. Avoid staring off into space, fidgeting, sighing, avoiding eye contact, or crossing your arms over your body in a defensive stance. Instead, maintain eye contact, nod along, make agreeable noises, ask questions, and keep your posture relaxed.
By showing your employees that you’re paying attention and really listening to what they have to say, you’ll boost morale, which in turn boosts productivity and profits.