Jackie Edwards guests on the Bespoken blog to talk about why effective communication starts with listening.
Communication in the workplace today can be a difficult topic. Many employees do not feel valued and are, in fact, actively searching for another job. As a manager, owning your voice and knowing exactly when and how to use it is very important; it is the key to being an empowered speaker and leader, and it is also an essential skill for effective communication. However, it is also just as important to know when not to use it too. The ability to actively listen to your employees is, in fact, a key skill for any manager, which will help create a more satisfied, productive and motivated team. Read on for our top tips to help managers improve their listening skills.
Remove Electronic Distractions
If an employee is trying to have a conversation with you, avoid checking your phone, emails and other electronic devices. This not only causes you to miss out on important information but will also send the message that you’re not really interested in what your employee is telling you. If your employee doesn’t feel heard, the result will most likely be lack of motivation and therefore less effective performance in the workplace. Focus your attention completely on the speaker and forget about your phone for a while.
Don’t Jump In
Although you may be impatient to answer and express your view, let the speaker finish. Don’t interrupt, it’s rude after all and shows your employee that you don’t really value what they are saying. Instead, actively listen and focus on the message that the speaker is trying to convey. Furthermore, various studies have shown that those who respond too impatiently and quickly to discussions in meetings usually miss the point of what their employees are trying to say. To make sure you’ve understood the message correctly, repeat the key points back to your employee once they’ve finished talking. This will not only show them how focused you were but it will also reinforce the message to yourself.
The Importance of Active Listening
Did you know that the words we use are actually only a small percentage of what we communicate? Look for changes in pace, flow, volume and intonation and carefully observe body language and facial expressions. Nonverbal cues can convey quite a lot of information, so make an effort to truly focus.
Body language is tricky and goes both ways; just as you can understand many things by analyzing the nonverbal cues in your employees, they can do the same by looking at you, and rolling your eyes or grimacing won’t give off a good impression. If you don’t understand, ask your employee to clarify. Remember to remain focused for the entire duration of the conversation, as you may miss important information otherwise.
Good Communication for Effective Management
Listening skills are essential in order to be a good manager; they will help you understand the intentions and feelings of your team, which in consequence will make your employees more open and motivated. Poor communication is, in fact, considered one of the reasons for lack of motivation in employees.
Effective communication starts with listening; by listening to your employees you will create a more motivated and productive team, therefore increasing productivity but also positivity and happiness in the workplace.