Are You Listening to Your Employees? – How to Deepen Relationships and Get Results
“Being heard, is so close to being loved, that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” ~David Augsburger
Are you listening to your employees?
According to a 2012 study by John Izzo, author of the book Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything, the top reason employees don’t take initiative at work is because managers don’t listen to their opinions before making decisions. Employees want to know you’re listening and care about their beliefs regarding the direction of the company. Bosses who listen are likely to experience more employee engagement and see their employees looking for ways to make the business better. Efforts will improve, customer relationships will prosper, and new ideas will flow more freely.
Here are 5 ways you can better listen to your employees:
- Stop being the “boss” – Yes, you’re still the person in charge, but you need to approach your relationships with employees on an even level. Listen as if you’re having a conversation with your business partner.
- Be Present – Don’t live through email and the phone. Get up and talk to your employees, and have meaningful conversations. Your discussions don’t even have to be fully work-related. Remember, you’re trying to deepen your relationships. This is the heart of genuine employee engagement.
- Consistency Counts – Your employees need to feel comfortable. Friday afternoon fire drills and emergency meetings add to discomfort and foster distrust. If you have business concerns, give employees time to hear and absorb problems and allow opportunity for discussion.
- Monitor Body Language – Everyone has their share of bad days. But as the boss, your employees look to you for a sense of how business is progressing. Staying positive is contagious. As a result of good body language, your employees will be more open to engage in dialog with you. And even if you’re having a bad day, avoid being negative.
- Don’t Interrupt – This one is critical. Your employees are taking the time to tell you their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. When you interrupt, you’re essentially discounting the value of their point. Even if you don’t agree with what your employee is saying, you need to give them the opportunity to fully express their viewpoint.
Are you listening to the employees in your organization? Do you want to learn how you can further strengthen your relationships and improve results? Contact us to find out more. Employee engagement is not just some term HR folks love to throw around–it should be central to your company culture and partof your own DNA as an enlightened 21st century boss.