In your opinion, which particular skill sets an exceptional leader apart from an ordinary manager?
Demonstrated and proven by a countless number of employee-directed surveys, the answer involves a more personal attribute-the ability to connect with your employees. With a national labor shortage reinforcing the conversation of burnout and an increasing rise of mental health recognition, employees just want to be heard.
In yesterday’s blog, “How mental health” we discussed the rising concern of employee mental health in your workplace. With many employees across America indefinitely required to work from home or physically come to the office during an uncertain time, anxiety runs at an all time high.
Healthy employer/employee communication establishes a relationship of trust while encouraging an environment of transparency. If your team members feel a measure of disconnect, they will more than likely refrain from voicing their concerns; whereas if they feel proper support, they will openly share ideas and provide personal feedback.
So what are you doing to listen to your employees?
Maybe you’ve been trying to pinpoint an effective way to become a better listener, or maybe this concept is completely brand new to you; whichever the case may be, understand that listening takes time. An issue for many years, employees continue to express dissatisfaction in their bosses for disregarding or ignoring them when they want to talk. Actually, a recent poll reveals that 91% of employees determine “communication issues” as an active weakness with their relationship. One step further reveals that employees just don’t feel heard.
As we acknowledged yesterday, the responsibility of a leader pulls in many directions throughout the day-artificially prompting you to believe that you don’t have the time. To set you apart from other detached managers straining their relationships with their employees, choose to make the time to listen to your team members. However, there is a difference between listening and active listening.
Actively listening to an individual involves both verbal and non verbal methods to confirm you are ready to listen.
By encouraging individuals to speak with you, you will dramatically increase your leadership capacity while gaining insight to keep improving
- Begin with active listening: Effective listeners always listen first and speak last. A successful and well proven method in team meetings, your employee will almost never share their honest feelings if you happen to speak first.
- Coach: A true leader chooses to empower their employees instead of ordering them around. Once you have actively listened to your employees statement, question, or concern, share your own personal experiences to dismiss the “boss and employee” tension.
- Inquire feedback: If you feel out of your comfort zone when initiating active listening methods, transparently communicate your efforts to those in your team. A simple, “I’m doing my best” will go much further than later choosing to neglect this altogether.
- Lead by example: An effective method to communicate with your employees, active listening also improves your business abilities. Whether you’re working from home, the office, or just out with a client for lunch, the manner in which you carry yourself matters. How do you approach decision making? Are you attentive and compassionate or are you more autocratic? As a leader in business, expect eyes watching every move you make.
To some, leadership comes easy, but to others, ultimate affirmation in the role feels downright impossible. Despite your greatest efforts, your employees choose to refrain from communicating and prefer to leave the company as a whole. While many great leadership courses can teach you role fundamentals, exceptionally life unique situations-such as past year events- can challenge your ability to think on your feet.
And today more than ever, mastering soft skills such as active listening can determine your future position for success.
With years of in depth leadership experience, our team at MCDA CCG, INC.–located in Placentia, Orange County, California-understand the unique challenges you face on the daily. If you are looking for a trusted advisor to assist you through unfamiliar territory-such as active listening-we can help. Call us today and let’s work on creating an environment of trust in your business.