Tips to Improve Your Management Effectiveness Through Better Listening

by | 2 minute read

If you’re like most man­agers, you’ll nev­er have enough time to fin­ish all the tasks on your to-do list. Some days, the best you can hope for is to tack­le the emer­gen­cies. Oth­er days, you might roll up your sleeves and pitch in to get the job done. If this is your day-to-day approach to your job, you’re head­ed for trou­ble. Here’s why.

Employ­ees respect hands-on man­agers. They appre­ci­ate that you’re will­ing work along­side of them. But, your team mem­bers need more from you. You won’t know what they need unless you take the time to lis­ten.

Be Available

The first step in lis­ten­ing is to be avail­able. Don­na McCormick cau­tions man­agers against engag­ing in behav­ior that puts peo­ple off. Is your office door always closed? If so, change your behav­ior. Keep that door open a cou­ple of hours a day. If you’re a remote man­ag­er, set your sta­tus as ‘avail­able’ on the com­pa­ny chat tool.

Be Attentive

It’s not enough to tell peo­ple you want to lis­ten. You must show them through your phys­i­cal actions and facial expres­sions. Make eye con­tact when they ini­ti­ate a con­ver­sa­tion with you. Leave your phone face down on your desk. Resist the urge to pick it up even if it’s buzzing and ding­ing.

Be Patient

Man­agers often have a ten­den­cy to think they know what an employ­ee is going to say to them. Because they’re in a hur­ry to move on to the next thing, they speak ahead of their employ­ee. That’s dis­re­spect­ful and bor­der­lines on rude.

When you feel impa­tient, remind your­self that a huge part of being a man­ag­er is lis­ten­ing. Turn on your ears and hear what your team mem­ber is say­ing. They may be telling you about a prospect or a busi­ness idea that could trans­form your com­pa­ny. To keep them talk­ing, ask ques­tions, but don’t take over the con­ver­sa­tion.

Are you not sure if you’re a good lis­ten­er? Ask your employ­ees to eval­u­ate you. Keep the process anony­mous so team mem­bers will feel com­fort­able giv­ing you hon­est feed­back. Use that feed­back to change your ways and let your team know that you’ve heard their con­cerns.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.