When you don’t listen to your employees then it’s tagged as the biggest mistake ever in business. There are many people who can offer you with insight, but the employees are the ones who offer more. Employees are the ones who are close to the customers and also operations and can find out flaws of the present. With such important aspects with the employees, communication has been a big barrier. Employees have an open channel for communication and they also mention that there should be some listeners to list out all the news they know. Let’s just glimpse through few hints about how to listen to employees.
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Listening to Employees Concerns:
Being a manager, one of the important duties to be performed is to address the issues and concerns of the staff. The following are a few ways to listen to employees’ concerns.
1. Offer complete attention to staff problems:
It is mandatory for higher officials to remember that listening to staffs problem and concern is never a hindrance to work and a waste of time. It is the duty of the manager to handle the employee’s issues.
While listening to the staff, complete concentration is required, handling calls or working on the computer at the time of discussion with the staffs clearly opens up that the manager is not ready to listen to the problem.
2. Keeping information confidential:
There are few problems with the employee which are funny, odd or even interesting. Hence, it is advisable to keep the issues confidential as it may turn up as an anecdote and circulated.
3. Listen to the concern without interrupting:
Let the employee explain to you the complete picture about the problem. Do not interfere until the employee completes telling his complete problem. When you hear the complete problem without interrupting, it means that you are really involved and listening.
4. Listening avoids lawsuit:
There are many common issues in a workplace where few of them are discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and violence. If higher employees listen and handle issues in the right manner, then all these issues can be solved easily.
Employers should make sure that they establish a mode and listen to their concerns without rejecting it. Employers should also show that they have taken the complaint and processing with the same. When employers listen to the employees and handle the issues, then there is no need for employees to file a lawsuit.
5. When employers do not listen, employees bid farewell:
It is important for employers to listen to employees’ concerns where otherwise they may quit the job. An AMA survey conducted mentioned that many employees left their jobs voluntarily because employers did not listen to their concerns.
The survey mentions that 5% of them left the job for personal reasons whereas many employees were in disdain and bitterness due to the employer’s behavior. The survey also found out that employees like to work in an environment where they have their voice. The quality of work in the organization and reduction in turnover rates can be achieved by listening to the complaints of the employees.
6. Employees can bring out hassles within the organization:
By listening to the employee’s complaints, employers can get to know various other issues that happen inside an organization. Communication with the employee is the best handy tool, it is always best to have communication with the employees and get to know suspicious things that happen in an organization to avoid shattering results.
7. Showing understanding of the issues:
When employee complaints about any issues, the employer can show that he has understood the issue. He does not have to make an agreement or judgment promptly but can mention that they have understood the problem and will bring about a solution soon.
8. Do not assume:
It is not always that you know what your employee is about to say. Always keep an open mind and listen. Do not assume or guess what others have to say. When you have no idea of what the opponent is saying, ask questions and make yourself clear.
9. Give non-verbal expression:
When you don’t want to interrupt, you can always give nonverbal expressions at times of conversation. You can say something here and there and make your opponent feel that you’re listening. You can make an animated expression or have eye contact with the employee.
Importance of Listening in Leadership:
“LISTENING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP SKILL”
Most people working in leadership roles do not have the patience to listen or simply lack listening skills. As mentioned above, listening is an important trait every leader should possess, or else the voice of your employees will go unheard. This can cause chaos within the team, thus effecting productivity negatively.
On the other hand, if the leaders show that their employee’s concerns are heard, it gives employees hope and satisfaction that they too belong to the company and are an important part of the organization. The bests part is that making your employees happy can directly lead to an increase in the productivity of the company.
For gaining listening skills, one needs to be active, open, flexible, engaged and attentive. This helps you to build good relationships with people working in the organization. This can also be termed as “active listening”
Steps to Effective Listening:
Listening is surely a tough thing to learn but if you are able to, then it can be very advantageous. Some of the steps to follow for effective listening,
- Always face the speaker
- Never interrupt in between
- Wait for the speaker to pause for asking questions
- While listening maintain eye contact
- Do not force on solutions which you prefer
- Being attentive and relaxed would help
- Ask questions if you have genuinely
- Should have an open mind
- Feel their emotion while speaking
- Understand the things being said
- Pay attention to what is not said directly through words
- Provide feedback to the speaker
Do You Listen To Employees?
Being a leader you should know that listening to employees and their concerns is quite important. In order to motivate and boost your employees you really need to listen to your employees and their concerns.
1. Make listening a priority:
Listening must be considered as an important skill and must be listed on the top of your priority list. Listening and acknowledging has been an important skill which is mandatory for a leader. When employers and leaders have the mindset that they have all the answers, then they do not listen at all. Hence, it is important to have the intention to listen.
2. Show them that you care:
When you listen to their issues and solve it, they believe that you care for them as an employer. When they know you care, then they work harder and aim higher than expected results.
Employees love to work under leaders who care for them, they do not want to be looked as tools or resources utilized for the success of the organization. Employees always want to have a good relationship where employers listen to their concerns at times of professional hardships.
3. Involve into listening:
Apart from caring, it is also mandatory for leaders to engage in the listening aspect. Listen to your employees when they share their opinions, ask those questions and tell them to elaborate on their issues. When you engage and are more active, then employees would know that you’re interested, paying attention and understanding their issues.
4. Be sure you understood the issue:
When an employee makes a complaint or shares his problem, make sure that you understood the problem. Listening is a passive skill and hence, employers must work to obtain the skill and understand the issue completely. The employers can also take notes at times in the organization and ask questions. Listening can make individuals an enhanced person and broaden his skills.
5. Being cool:
It is not a good act to react or disagree when someone says anything. It is always good to sit back and listen to whatever the employees or higher officials say. Listening is a passive skill and when you listen, it will let others know that you are listening.
6. Body language:
Body language and posture are few important aspects and tools of communication. Presenting the right body language which shows that you have an interest in whatever is being said is important.
7. Being focused:
It is a fact that people get annoyed when they speak and the listeners don’t listen. In that manner, you should not do the same when someone converses. It would be good to switch off mobiles, turn off tablets or laptop and invest some energy in the one who is speaking on the other side.
8. Being mindful:
It is a fact that great leaders are always mindful of their surroundings. Along with both verbal and non-verbal communication, they also know to listen in an active manner. They use facial expressions, nods, and body language in order to show that they are responding. Executive presence is an asset that is required for leaders and managers so that they listen effectively.
Ways to Listen To Your Employees:
1. Make listening a priority:
The leader or the individual should first possess the will. Riordan mentions that listening should be first placed at the top of your priority list and should be acknowledged, which presents that you’re a great leader. In order to move forward and listen, the individual should develop a mindset where he needs to listen, interact and hear without hesitation about what is being shared.
It is hence important to build listening skills so that you listen to employees. The leader should remember that their colleagues are equally smart and have something valuable to say. Hence adapting to a mindset to listen and making it a priority is one way to listen to your employees.
Meetings either physically or virtually can be one way to listen to your employees. Scheduling a meeting and making the top leader address the team and clarify others queries can be a good way.
The meeting should be designed in a way that it’s a general discussion and not a presentation. They just discuss the state of the organization, the mission, culture, goals and lot more.
Your teammates can be allowed to ask questions or write questions and the leadership team can answer them. This is one best way to listen to employees as they cannot be avoided.
3. Getting rid of distractions:
At times when your attention is not at the place, then the messages the opponent says are definitely unimportant to the listener. When your employee speaks to you and you’re busy with your iPhone or Tab, then it is surely a negative impression for the ones who work for you.
Since your attention is broken down, you do not get a full picture of what is said. Hence avoiding such distractions when you speak to your employees can be one best way that can be followed to listen to employees.
4. Non-verbal clues:
Apart from words spoken, actions also play a great role in communication. There are a number of ways people communicate where few of them are nonverbal ones. While at a conversation the face and body reaction may seem opposite to what is being said.
Do not let that happen, as a leader when you receive information make sure to put forward some cues such as “you are amazed about it, can you mention more?” or “I know you are upset with the issue, do you want to share more?”. This is one way to listen to employees.
5. Controlling reactions:
In order to listen to your employees, it is equally important to control your reactions. Instead of focusing on the employee’s body language, focus on yours too and control it. When the news is upsetting, the leader can use strong voice commands or can also disagree with the news.
There are many leaders who do overreact to conversations. They can snap or vocally disagree and lot more before the news is completely delivered. It is hence important to control body language and maintain calm irrespective of the type of news received. It is hence mandatory for listeners to practice to sit still be silent. It is advised to avoid the rush or react to the employees. This is one way to listen to employees.
Listening is an important parameter for any employer, leader or higher official. It is true that employees respect employers who listen to them. Listening is very important because about 85% of what we know was obtained through listening. The listening rate of human comprehension is about 25%. About 45% of the day is spending in listening in a business environment.
There are a number of methods, techniques, and sources which can be read from varied sources to make your employees listen. These pointers are beneficial for all business people who aren’t able to listen and wanted to make others listen.