Teams are full of people. People with their own life experiences, their own positives and negatives and importantly – their own ideas. Good management gets the best out of people by motivating them, inspiring them and encouraging better performance. But we firmly believe truly great management involves listening to our people as well.
Great managers are always listening to their staff and taking what they hear into account when it comes to decision-making. When was the last time you sat down with your team, collectively or individually, to pick their brains and let them offer you some insight? We absolutely guarantee that they will have ideas and opinions that can positively impact on the success of your overall team performance. It’s rare to find a manager with more experience than that of their team, so it makes absolute sense to tap into what’s on offer right in front of you.
Find out in detail the role that each member of the team plays in the success of your operation. Find out what niggles them about their job and discuss how they think things can improve. Show yourself to be approachable, keen to help make positive changes and to use their ideas and wisdom, and demonstrate that you recognise and value there combined strengths. Learn from their expertise and experience and you’ll be rewarded with better performance, better morale and greater loyalty.
It’s important to keep listening day in, day out. Having an open-door policy so that your employees know they can drop in and chat through some ideas with you is a great start.
- Sitting next to them to discuss things rather than sitting on opposite sides of a desk puts people at ease and helps them feel that they have your attention
- Ignoring distractions from phones and emails shows you are taking the discussion seriously
- Choosing to talk face to face rather than batting emails back and forth demonstrates you’re interested in the person and their opinions
- Ask open questions that can get the person talking to keep regular eye contact and repeat back what they’re saying to confirm your understanding and that you’ve been listening.
These are a lot of simple things that are easily achieved and which go a long way. All too often these are neglected in a busy workplace.
Listening is one high on the list. Resist the temptation to force your own opinions into the conversation, strive to be non-judgmental and take all opinions on board even if you believe them to be wrong. Additionally, listening isn’t always about what’s being said. Non-verbal cues can speak volumes and you need to tune in to those too. If you notice a member of your team has a change in mood or attitude, sit down with them as soon as you can and chat about it. Say you’ve noticed. Discussing what’s on their mind sooner rather than later can help put a bad situation right, it will show empathy that will be valued if the problem is a family matter, and will above all help to build trust and respect between the both of you in your working relationship.
Too many great ideas to improve business performance never see the light of day because staff feel they won’t get listened to. Make sure you invest time and energy into listening. You’ll be surprised at what you hear.