All good companies are run by good leaders who understand the needs of their colleagues and can act on those needs. However, great companies who have strategic leaders at their core know when and where to serve the needs of their team and how to do so in the most efficient way. This can all be achieved by doing one thing, listening. As your business grows you lose the ability to offer your employees one-on-one time to work with one another and discuss developments over the last few days, weeks or maybe even months. It is because of this that as your organization grows and matures, your employees, especially at the bottom of the ‘food chain’ lose the ability to communicate effectively with their superiors.
The lack of communication amongst management and staff can mean many things for your business. This could include, lost creativity, additional money because of duplicated tasks or projects, and poor employee satisfaction among other things. Therefore, it is critical to empowering yourself as a manager to give your staff, no matter their duties or maturity within the company the opportunity to talk with you about what is going on.
Regardless of what industry you’re working in, every employee wants to know that their boss genuinely cares about them and is willing to invest time and resources into their success. To be an active listener, there are three things that must occur to reach your maximum potential.
1. Create Open Time For Employees To Meet With You – This allows your staff to be welcomed into the conversation and be able to express their interests more comfortably, ideas and inputs on tasks, projects, and day-to-day operations. Also, this allows you to anticipate the needs of your staff better should anything urgent in your schedule suddenly arise.
2. Take Notes or Build Off Of Staff Discussion – Discussing with your team is a start, but if you don’t allow yourself to make anything of it, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Anticipating to take notes or address discussion points directly is critical should you want both parties to take value away from your discussions.
3. Follow Up – Continuing the conversation with workers not only tells them that you care about their interests but also allows you to keep track of initiatives that you may put into motion on a personal level with your team members. For example, if one of your employees suggests a new customer support software to better serve customers and their peers you should look into their suggestion. This allows you to receive critical feedback from your staff on what action actually came of your discussions.
Humans are not programmed to listen to one another, and it will take time, even for veteran managers to be more open to meeting and sharing ideas freely with staff, no matter their status within the company. With the introduction of an open discussion with your team, you will not only be able to gather ideas, thoughts, and creative input much faster, but your staff will more openly discuss topics with you ranging from office gossip to management chain issues, etc. Overall, offering your team the ability to voice their ideas to you freely can have a massively positive effect on your bottom line, even if you don’t set aside a significant amount of time to it.