In every industry, domain, or field, there is a leader who is coordinating the team, who keeps contact with the team members, and supports and helps them. Employees have many expectations from their leaders, especially in an era where changes at the workplace happen so often. The workplace is now described by uncertainty, with major fluctuations happening in every team. Even though this is happening, your responsibilities as a leader do not change. Nor do the expectations your team has from you. More than ever listening as a key skill is vital as a leader.
Listening effectively is one of the things many employees yearn for. In an era and society where there are so many superficial relationships and conflicts at the workplace, employees want genuine care and attention. Not being listened to comes with demotivation and decreases job satisfaction. So, to make sure your team is cohesive, trusts you, and is motivated to perform, you need to listen to it effectively. But how exactly can you do this? Here are seven ways.
Get to Know Them
One of the first things you could start with is to get to know your team. Every human is unique in its own way and it has a fascinating part. When working, employees often share information about their progress or tasks at hand. They rarely talk about themselves, their hobbies, their preferences, and so on. And this is especially valid now when working from home became the new normal. A key component of listening as a key skill and to effectively and support your employees is to get to know them. The more you get to know your team, the more effective you will listen to them.
Make This a Priority
Many leaders think that improving their effective listening skills is essential. And this is true. However, few of these leaders make it a priority. It is just another task on the long to-do list that waits to be ticked. As soon as you make listening to your team effectively a priority, you will adapt your mindset too.
Keep Distractions Away
We are so connected to the internet with the help of technology nowadays. If we have our smartphones with us is enough because they have so many features that you could do everything. But this is one of the distractions that might prevent you from paying attention to your team and listening effectively. For example, everyone has their phone with them, even in meetings. If you see the screen of your phone lightning up during a meeting, it will catch your attention and distract you. Keep distractions away.
In a world where employee fluctuation is pretty high, teams change often. At the same time, many leaders are cold and distant and see their employees as tools for success. But seeing people as tools prevents you from listening effectively and becoming a better leader. Instead, change your mindset and start caring about them. Moreover, show them that you genuinely care about their ideas. The capabilities and abilities of a human are not just about the workplace.
The quality of a great leader is to be emphatic. Empathy opens so many doors, including the one of effective listening. The workplace is sometimes dominated by stress. And even though stress can be healthy, it is often at harmful levels. Each of your team members will experience stress differently. And being there to support and listen to them can make them feel better. And it can make you a better leader because empathy makes you listen effectively to others.
Some employees might be more introverted and keep their ideas for themselves. Others might say something they do not believe in because of the social pressure they feel. But often, what someone thinks and feels is seen on his or her body. Body language is about noticing the nonverbal cues the employees are sending. Communication is more than exchanging words. Communication is also about nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, intonation, body position, face mimics, and so on.
Every human makes mistakes and has his problems. People are different, have different perspectives on the same thing, and react differently. Some leaders tend to judge others. But doing this means that you are not listening to them. Yes, you see events through your own lens, but so do they. People go through different experiences that shape their perspective on the world. And if you want to listen effectively, you need to stop judging and be more compassionate.
Ensuring you treat listening as a key skill can make you a better leader. Employees expect genuine care and interactions with their leaders because many of them say that these relationships end at work. You should see people more as valuable assets, not as tools to complete your project and achieve success with your company. Do not judge them, be empathic, and make this a priority. Get to know them, care, look for nonverbal cues, and keep distractions away.
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Emma Coffinet is a content creator for websites, blogs, articles, white papers, and social media platforms. She is keen on capturing the attention of a target audience. She keeps herself well-read with the changing trends of the web world. Emma loves to pen down her knowledge in an engaging and simplified way.