So lately, it seems like your staff is boiling over with hostility towards you. Every time you walk into the room with them they suddenly scatter and conversations abruptly stop. A few outspoken team members have hinted that somethings wrong and as the manager in charge you feel a little out of sorts. From your perspective you’ve done all you can to keep the lines of communication open. You have an open door policy, host monthly meetings to address concerns, and even have periodic chat-ins with each of your team members. Still your staff isn’t opening up. Why Not? The problem could be that your staff feels like you don’t listen to them. While many of us know the importance of practicing good communication in the workplace many leaders still struggle with being an effective listener. In a 2013 blog post on udemy.com listening is described as “…the most important part of communication, because if you fail to understand the message being expressed to you, you will also fail in providing a substantial and meaningful response”. The article continues to explain that ineffective listening is the root cause of many arguments, misunderstandings and complications, whether at home, school or work. Ineffective listening can create barriers amongst your team so take a look at our top three listening no-no’s and make sure you are not committing any of these common listening fallacies.
#1 Combat Listening
Your staff comes to you with a problem… if while they are talking you are only thinking of your response and how to counterpoint you are engaging in combat listening. It’s important to hear the speaker and not jump in with a defense when they are speaking. Before jumping in try to understand there points; this can be done by using pauses before speaking and trying to assess if there are any areas where you as a leader need to take accountability. Remember not everything can be solved or processed in one conversation. So you may have to tell the speaker that you need process what they have shared overnight, doing this may lessen the chances of you saying something you might regret later and also allows for you to clearly process what you have heard.
#2 Failure to Take Action
If your staff is coming to you with the same concern over and over again and you fail to take some kind of action to address their concerns you are really sending a bad message. It’s important to take productive action when the same concern keeps showing up; show your staff that you hear them and are listening by taking action measures. If it’s something that you can’t fix be straight with your staff and tell them, but be open to their suggestions in finding a middle ground if one exists. Your staff will not always be able to have their way so you may need to devise a few group coping strategies to help your staff through difficult times.
#3 Closing the Dialogue
It’s important that your team knows that you care about them and their happiness at work. Therefore keep the dialogue open with them. On-going and consistent dialogue really helps your team to feel heard, so check in with your team and keep an open dialogue with them. Remember you never stop learning as a manager and a little listening can take you a long way. So be genuine, be kind and get to know your team in your own personal way to help foster an environment that engages in positive communication.
Creative Director for BeautifullyYours Metro
Regina M. Tucker is the Creative Director for BeautifullyYours Metro the first lifestyle platform for estheticians. She a licensed esthetician, professional beauty writer, and business owner. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Development and enjoys researching, speaking and providing professional commentaries on pertinent topics impacting today’s skin care professionals. Learn more at beautifullyyoursmetro.com or by contacting her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org