All managers want their ideas to be welcomed and their strategies to be adopted and implemented immediately. Of course, it’s essential to express and articulate your thoughts correctly. But eloquence alone is not enough to make people appreciate your ideas. You need to be able to listen!
If you are the head of a large company, constantly dealing with the board of directors and leading shareholders, think about whether you can hear what you are being told. Yes, you can talk. Your “speaker’s” well-positioned voice impresses those around you. And the higher up the career ladder you climbed, the louder your voice sounded. “Why should I be able to listen? I need to be listened to!” is a big misconception. If you don’t listen to anyone, chances are no one hears you either. And this is fraught with the most unpleasant consequences for the business.
Importance of listening skills for managers
Most managers consider themselves good listeners, but their subordinates would disagree. The inability to listen is fraught with the most serious consequences. According to a Q4Solution study, three out of four managers did not know how to listen to their subordinates. In conversations with direct subordinates, managers tended to promote their ideas rather than engage them in dialogue or try to find out their points of view, concerns, and interests. Other Q4Solution study results:
- Only 28% asked questions to understand the other person’s point of view.
- Less than 25% acknowledged the other person’s feelings.
- Only 24% of managers were interested in the ideas of an immediate subordinate.
- Only 22% of managers asked a subordinate’s opinion before promoting their idea.
Every day on TV, we are told stories about CEOs who failed to pay proper attention to the symptoms of an impending crisis or noticed that demand for products was falling when it was too late. A manager who does not know how to listen to risks losing the understanding of how things really are inside the organization or team. This dramatically increases the likelihood of failure.
When you listen sincerely and attentively, you not only hear what you are told, but you can also assess the meaning and significance behind the words. If a manager can listen to employees, it is much easier for him or her to extract the most value from what the subordinate, colleague, board member, or customer is saying. To truly listen, you must get rid of unnecessary external and internal chatter.
Why manager’s listening skills are so important to employees:
You can consider that you have learned to listen if:
- Not only you but your employees speak in complete sentences
- Employees can pause in the conversation and take a breath without fear that, at the same moment, they will start talking themselves.
- Employees calmly express their thoughts and explain their ideas, and you do not interrupt them halfway and do not try to formulate their thoughts for them.
- You can adequately perceive other people’s speeches rather than listen half-heartedly, wondering what you will answer when the interlocutor finally shuts up.
- Employees are more willing to tell you the unpleasant truth and sincerely try to solve problems with you rather than say what you like to hear.
As a rule, your own thoughts about what the person is saying prevent you from truly understanding him or her. After the person has been listened to, it is much easier for him or her to accept new ideas, which means it is much easier to turn him or her into your ally.
In a market environment, the difference between failing and great results often depends entirely on the head of the company, and his ability to listen to people means a lot. Only in this way can you form a truly cohesive and effective team.
If listening becomes the norm in your organization, employees will align with your global goals and plans, not the conversations they have mentally with themselves. You’ll be able to understand what’s really on people’s minds and come to a full understanding with your colleagues. If people are truly aware of their organization’s goals and what depends on them personally, they usually get great results.