Ways good leaders listen to employees
There are many different styles of leadership and several approaches leaders can take when it comes to listening to employees. Some leaders or managers tend to be more reserved while others are more interactive and open with their staff members.
While levels of interaction may vary with leadership styles, even the most reserved leaders have much to gain by listening and communicating with their employees. Teamwork is a valuable approach in most work situations, and the relationship between employers and employees is not an exception.
Here are a few ways good leaders can listen to employees and use the ideas exchanged to help improve the overall objectives and goals in the organization:
Don't just hear, listenOne mistake some leaders make is to hear and perhaps even jot down ideas, but they don't truly listen or internalize what has been said. There are several reasons why this might occur, it could be due to other distractions, possessing a dismissive attitude or just being overwhelmed and the oversight being completely unintentional.
Whatever the reason for not internalizing what's being said, hearing an employee's words, but not listening, may lead to misunderstandings and misconceptions. Worse, it can result in an overall breakdown in communication between management and employees which is not beneficial to anyone in the workplace.
Keep open door policiesAn open door policy that invites staff members to drop in and share concerns, comments, suggestions and complaints is always a great way to listen to employees. Leaders who do not initiate open door policies often may find that employees are hesitant to speak their minds because they do not feel welcomed to do so. As a result, some great suggestions, innovative ideas or other useful comments might totally be missed.
Those who lead and do not establish an inviting atmosphere to come talk when desired are likely missing some great opportunities.
Socialize in the officeEven if your style of leadership tends to be more on the aloof side, it is of significant value to get out from behind closed doors and socialize a bit with your staff. This doesn't mean you have to go to lunch and have personal conversations, but some light banter and work-related exchanges can be very helpful to both employee morale and for the organization's objectives. Leaders that remain constantly behind closed doors are wasting a good occasion to not only get to know the people that work for them, but to also see how things transpire during the work day.
Create a communication-friendly environmentA communicative environment goes a long way in lending an ear to others. When staff members feel they are able to communicate openly, this is a valuable way for leaders to really gain some insight into the ins and outs of what's happening in the work environment.
There are many approaches and techniques that good leaders can use to listen to others. All it takes is a bit of effort and desire. Once those two objectives are met, with a little additional initiative the rest will fall into place naturally.