Listening is one of the most important qualities for any business leader to have. Listening can improve rapport between management and employees, which will, in turn, improve business operations. Unfortunately, the concerns of many are not heeded to. With this, trust slowly begins to disintegrate. The business will soon go along with it. How can you listen to employees better?
First, you must understand that listening starts with curiosity. That means that you will have to start asking some questions. However, anyone can ask work-related questions in the business place. When employees speak to management, there is often an underlying sense of intimidation that the wrong answer can lead to termination of employment. Put their mind at ease by asking them an open-ended question. Instead of asking them where that report you asked them to file is, why don’t you ask them how their weekend was? The human element is often missing in the workplace, and understandably so. However, you must understand that everyone has lives and responsibilities outside of the workplace. If you show your human side, they will feel much more comfortable working with you.
The next part of listening comes in the form of understanding. Having the trait of empathy is an important quality for leaders to have. This means that you have the ability to understand the experiences of others, and how it can impact their performance. It is one thing for you to have high expectations of your team. To sustain a business, you need employees that recognize the vision of the business and can fulfill requirements adequately. At the same time, you must also understand extraneous factors that go into the day-to-day operations of employees. Sometimes, putting the needs of the employees before yourself can incite a great response.
At the same time, you will also have to recognize questions that can potentially undermine your authority or be perceived as disrespectful cannot be tolerated. You should be willing to be empathetic towards those looking to help the business, but you also cannot be accepting of anything counterproductive. Do not be afraid to correct and implement standards of the business if the line of questioning makes you seem lacking in knowledge. Follow these listening tips, and you will improve your business quickly!