Do you find yourself missing what your team members tell you?
Do you feel surprised when they state that they have already told you something, but you have no recollection of it?
This is a common problem faced by supervisors around the country; as they are often too busy to truly listen to what is going on around them.
Due to this, many errors can occur that could have easily been prevented. To improve your listening skills at work, follow these steps:
Pay attention – The easiest way to start listening to your staff is to pay attention. This sounds simple enough, but in the hustle and bustle of office life, that is often difficult to accomplish. When you are sorting through emails, or approving projects, it’s easy to miss an employee who poked his head into your office to mention something. You may not hear it, and even if you do, you can forget it a minute later. Therefore, it’s important to stop what you’re doing when someone is trying to communicate with you, and take the time to listen to them.
Provide Verbal Confirmation – Involve your entire department in the effort to help you improve your listening skills. Have them to ask you for verbal confirmation whenever they say anything to you that requires your attention. All this means that if a staff happens to run into you in the hallway to notify you that she’ll be late to work the next day, have her follow up with, “Did you hear me, and is that OK?” This will require an answer from you, which will grab your attention. This will also confirm to the employee that you have listened to what was said.
Take Notes – You may be one of those individuals that hears what is said to them, but forgets it right away. Some people understand and remember what they hear orally, while other people do so visually. A great tip to remember what was said to you is to write it down. You can have a notepad or your phone to jot down notes and look over them daily to keep up with your department. To remember the days or times your subordinates are taking off, buy a calendar to keep track. Also, ask your employees to email you anything that is important in addition to mentioning it to you; once you see it written in your email, it will be a great follow up to the verbal conversation.
Listening is a skill that many managers need to learn to be effective leaders. Follow the three tips above to improve your listening abilities.
Head of Training