Active listening is a learned skill, one that gets better with use and practice. And being a good active listener comes with rewards – not only does it give you more information on which to base your decisions and actions, but perhaps more importantly, it helps you get the best from your employees. When you listen, actively listen, to what your employees have to say, not only does it affirm them, but it builds and solidifies your relationships with your staff. In past blog posts, I’ve written about what gets in the way of active listening (see Good listening: it’s about staying “checked-in” and Be aware of mental and physical barriers that can get in the way) but today I want to talk about the opposite – what can you do to become a more active listener?
One idea – ask questions. When you ask thoughtful questions, not only do you keep your mind occupied and present, but as a bonus, you also show your employee that you’re listening to what he or she has to say … which means that you affirm and build a stronger relationship.
What are some of the things you do to listen more actively? Please share your tried and true successes with us all below.