Helping to improve managers’ listening skills will better engage a work team. Managing subordinates is a difficult task. It requires discipline, patience, and hard work. The key to being a good manager is great communication skills. Listening is half of communication, and here is a list of six tips that will help to improve managers’ listening skills.
Look at the subordinate
Making eye contact is one of the important practices to take on when supervisors communicate with subordinates. It is not surprising, since humans are the only primates who have white on their eyeballs. The other primates’ entire eyes are black. Humans have a big contrast between their eyes and the pupil. It makes us capable of noticing what the other humans are focusing on. Thus, looking at the speaker is an indication, that the manager is focused on what a worker is saying. If managers avoid eye contact, it is a clear giveaway to the subordinate that the manager is not listening.
Interrupting an employee is not only rude, but it also makes it obvious that the boss who interrupted is not really listening to what the worker has to say. Besides, interrupting others gives an impression that what you have to say is more important, than what they have to say. As a manager, it is very important to show that everyone is equal and employees’ words have value. Even if supervisors want to make a quick point in the middle of an employee’s discussion, it’s important not to interrupt. Wait until after they are finished and then come back to the remark you wanted to make.
Give subordinates time to express themselves
It should be obvious, that some problems require more time to explain than others. Also, some people need more time to say what they think. A good listener-manager will grasp this and will give as much time as needed for a subordinate to fully and comprehensibly express their thoughts. Managers should not hurry things. They need to be sure to sacrifice their time if it is required. Because this sacrifice will pay off by making it a higher quality conversation.
Focus on understanding
It can be easy to listen, but it is hard to listen correctly. It is a waste of time for both an employee and a manager if they don’t try to comprehend what the other says. For a manager, it is especially important to focus on understanding what the worker has to say because, without full comprehension, right decisions cannot be made. A manager must try to make an effort while listening to catch every word and phrase, and try to comprehend what points are being made by the employee.
Suspend your judgement
Judging others is easy. Thinking through and solving problems is difficult. When listening to an employee, try to avoid judgment. Backlashing at an employee will bring no good for the subordinate or the company. At most times it is hard to hold back feelings like anger or disappointment, but showing these emotions to an employee will ensure that in the future, the employee will avoid talking and solving problems with the boss. If an employee knows that the manager is non-judgmental, an employee will trust the manager more, and a strong relationship will be born. Such a relationship will bear fruit for a long time.
Ask questions for clarity
Even if a manager involves all of these tips into their listening practice, there might be moments where he does not understand some of the speaker’s points. Because of that, the final tip is crucially important. As a manager, if there is something you do not grasp fully, do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength. It also shows that you were actually listening and not daydreaming through the employee’s discussion. An employee will be willing to answer these questions, since it will be obvious that the manager was making an effort and listened carefully.
If you want more pointers on how to improve managers’ listening skills, contact Flexicrew and listen to some sound advice.
Listening is difficult, but trying to be a good listener pays off. When listening to the employees remember to stay focused and try to grasp what they were trying to say. Without conscious effort, no value will be gained, and it will be a waste of time for both parties involved.