We all know that listening is a key skill in business, so much so that I never teach questioning skills unless I have taught listening first. My view is until you have learned to listen you may as well not bother asking any questions.
As human beings we all have a natural need to feel wanted and ‘included’. When decisions are made on matters that affect us without our involvement, we feel belittled, unimportant and resentful.
The two points above are common knowledge and common sense, so why do leaders and managers continue to make the mistake of implementing ‘change’ of any kind without consultation?
Here are just a few of the ‘reasons’ I have heard:
So, we make our management decisions behind closed doors and then call a meeting to implement the new procedure or ‘upgrade’, or initiative. The ‘meeting’ is the first time the team is aware of the change and then we wonder why these meetings often descend into chaos.
Here are my top tips to ensure you have really listened and more importantly to be seen to be actively listening by your teams:
Successful leaders are therefore those that listen and by setting the listening example their managers should also be listeners too! One word of advice though, listening is one thing but effective communication requires mutual understanding. Be sure that what you hear is actually what the other person really meant. Confirm and clarify every point to ensure there is no ambiguity.
Until next time, good listening!
Head of Training
Originally published: 2 October, 2013