Poor listening is a persistent complaint that staff make about their management. The advantages of being a good listener are:
- You are more likely to get in tune with your customers whether they are external or internal. The more you understand them the greater the chance that you will satisfy their needs.
- If you are delegating well your staff will know a great deal about what could be improved and how to do it. If you get a reputation as a poor listener, they just won’t bother sharing their thoughts with you.
- You will spot the early signs of trouble with customers and staff and then be able to take steps to head off major problems.
- You will not just hear the words but what lies behind them in terms of attitude and beliefs. This will enable you to exercise more influence over other people.
- You’ll have more empathy with people and a much deeper understanding of their frame of reference.
- You’ll have more information to base your decisions upon and that is highly likely to lead, in turn, to better results.
- You will have more information about how to lead and inspire the people around you. Your leadership is much more likely to be successful.
- You’ll save time in the long run. You may even get information that could avoid you making costly mistakes.
Good listening tips are:
- Briefly summarise what others say – it will build rapport with them if they know you are not just hearing but also thinking about what they are saying;
- Forget about what you are going to say in response to what they are saying – your mind will then be free to truly listen and understand;
- Give people your full attention and adopt a body posture that shows you are really taking in what they are saying;
- Let people finish and avoid completing sentences for them;
- Ask questions if something is unclear and test your assumptions before reaching a conclusion.
It’s not rocket science but being a good listener increases your being the manager that your staff and customers deserve.