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.
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.
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.
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.