Do You Listen to Your Employees?Leaders can create loyalty if they simply listen to their employees. When employees are loyal and engaged in your company, profits are higher and productivity increases. When people feel unmotivated or undervalued, business suffers.

As leaders, we’re often busy with running and growing our organizations, we forget about employee engagement.

“In many organizations today, employees have come to expect that their perspectives are powerless, their input ineffectual and their thoughts thankless,” says Julie Winkle Giulioni, contributor to SmartBrief on Leadership.

The secret to making sure your employees feel valued is to be the best listener ever. Listening is the foundation for the best relationships. It makes the other person feel valued and opens you up to new ideas.

“For the most part, employees trust that their leaders are hearing the information they share,” says Giulioni. However, what’s missing is a commitment to do something with that information.  She says leaders today need to practice ‘listening 2.0’. This involves focusing on using the data they collect. Don’t just solicit and gather more input.

Giulioni Shares Three Critical Steps to Listening 2.0

Apply a strategic lens to what you ask. Really be intentional, and make sure there’s a good likelihood you’ll be able to act on what you hear.

Do something with what you hear. Take appropriate action. Make the employees’ investment in sharing information with you pay off in some way.

Let others know how you use their input. Communicate the value of what’s been shared. This reinforces employee commitment and it also trains employees about the kind of information you find most valuable so they can bring you more. Also, let employees know why you don’t act on certain information.  This communicates your bias, makes productive use of what others offer up, and encourages  better input in the future.

If you want to become a great leader, stop talking and start listening. Listening to your employees and using their feedback, goes a long way towards making  your company a better business.

Do you listen to and use your employees feedback?

Art of ListeningThe most successful business leaders understand the art of listening is key to effective leadership. It is an art that can be acquired and developed, but only if you are willing to commit time and resources to doing it well.

So says Jim Sniechowski, Ph.D., a contributor to LinkedIn Today. Becoming a “really, really good listener” starts with setting your own ego aside: “Not deny it. Not suppress it. But set it aside; bracket it, so to speak,” so you can truly bring the other person “into full view."

Sniechowski offers what he calls “four essentials” that lead to the art of listening.

The Art of Listening

  1. The other person is not you. It is important to recognize that even if you and the other person share a common social and economic status, even the same education and experience, “that’s not enough to guarantee listening deeply, because there will always be points of divergence.”  The other person “doesn’t operate from the same assumptions as you do.” If you disregard this insight, your interaction with this other person “can branch off in unexpected and startling ways that can lead to confusion, if not irritation and even rage.”
  2. Be curious.  “Deep listening” operates on the presumption you are genuinely curious about the other person and what makes him or her tick. When you do it right, “it returns a treasure of understanding that enhances the familiarity and the closeness of your relationship.”
  3. A person's perspective is as important to them as yours is to you. Hard to imagine, right? Understanding this basic principle frees you from the tendency we all have of dismissing someone else’s point of view when it is not aligned with what we think and believe. “This doesn’t mean you have to agree or even want to remain connected,” Sniechowski contends. “But you won’t fall into the trap of characterizing them from your own point of view.”
  4. Listen for non-conscious presuppositions and assumptions. What is going on beneath the surface is just as important as what is being said. “We all express from the unconscious dimension of our minds. That’s unavoidable.” This is where assumptions and presuppositions live, and why they get expressed as “slips of the tongue, inconsistencies, even contradictions.”

After expressing yourself on a particular point, have you ever followed up by saying, “I didn’t really mean that.”?

Sniechowski says, you really did mean it.

The passion with which you delivered your statement is a clue to the depth of your conviction.

Conviction is rooted in the unconscious and what is true for you is equally true for the other person.

By integrating and practicing what Sniechowski calls “these listening strategies,” you will become not only a good listener, you will have the art of listening down, which makes you a more effective leader.

The practice will “open up other people to you in ways that will sometimes prove breathtaking.”

How do you practice the art of listening?


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