Shut Up And Listen To Your Employees

Posted on May 17, 2020 by

As an employer, it can be difficult to listen to your employees and heed what they have to say. A common mistake made by employers is the failure to properly communicate with their subordinates. They typically have great insights and observations that end up being ignored completely, as the boss tends to assume that they know best.

There are a variety of methods that an employer can use in order to enhance their listening skills. By following these helpful tips for improving your employee listening skills, you can get more out of your employees than just a honest day’s work.

  1. Make Sure The Person Feels Heard

There is a major difference between truly hearing an employee out and simply patronizing them. If you are indulging in distractions or not even bothering to look up from what you are doing to hear them out, the employee is going to feel like their input is falling on deaf ears. Providing non verbal cues that indicate your interest in what the employee has to say is important.

Employers have a tendency to assume that an employee who is always repeating themselves does not have anything new to say. The more likely explanation for this phenomenon is that the employee has never felt like they were heard.

  1. Realize That Employees Are Smart, Too

Just because you outrank a person or sit higher than they do on the proverbial does not mean that they do not have intelligent ideas to share. Employees have the unique position of knowing more about their jobs than their employers do. Since they have the first hand experience of handling the issues that come with their daily tasks, they often have better ideas for how to address them.

The workplace is no place for an arrogant attitude. A person who is technically beneath you still has thoughts and ideas to bring to the table, if you give them the chance to do so. No one is able to accomplish anything in life without an open mind, so be sure to value your employees’ insights.

  1. Know Your Own Limitations

Even the best boss has certain limitations or areas where they are not as proficient. Some bosses will shut their employees out when they are making contributions that shine a light on things that they do not know about. Taking the time to learn from your employees about topics that do not fall under your areas of expertise is crucial.

No employee wants to work hard for a boss who is unwilling to admit when they are wrong or ask an employee for their input on an issue that is unfamiliar to them. Bosses can make the mistake of assuming that they already know what their employees are going to say before they’ve had a chance to speak, which curtails effective communication.

  1. Pay Attention To Body Language

An employee who does not feel heard will express this fact to you, without ever actually saying so. Pay close attention to their posture and their hand gestures as they speak. There are a number of non verbal cues that an employee will use to express their frustration of your lack of listening.

  1. Remain Calm At All Times

Bosses do not always like to hear what their employees have to say, because there is a good chance that they will not agree with the entirety of their words. An employer who is schooled in proper communication techniques knows that indicating this anger to the employee may keep them from expressing their opinions and insights in the future.

By immediately voicing your disagreement with the employee, you are essentially indicating to them that you do not want to hear what they say anymore. Listen to everything that they have to say, so that you can fully understand the meaning behind their words. Listening to the entire conversation keeps you from taking certain statements out of context.

  1. Make Listening A Priority

If your employees are consistently complaining about not being heard, this is a sign that you are not making listening to their concerns a true priority. As an employer, it is your responsibility to create time to listen to subordinates who have legitimate questions to ask and real world concerns that they would like to voice.

This does not mean that you give them a few minutes each week to vent, then go about your usual business. When you are in a discussion with an employee, actually take the time to listen, rather than waiting for your turn to speak.

  1. Make Sure You Understand

If you are unsure as to what the employee is trying to say, don’t be afraid to ask. An employee will feel like their opinions are valued when you take the time to ask them questions. When an issue truly matters to an employee, they will not mind expanding on it and explaining their viewpoint further. Understanding is a bedrock principle when it comes to effective listening.

Employees who are always forced to repeat themselves and go over the same talking points again and again don’t do it annoy you. They repeat themselves when they feel like they are not being properly understood. Taking notes is a great way to increase your comprehension and fully understand what is being said to you. Or you can repeat what the employee has said back to them, so that there is no confusion on either side about what is being said.

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