The Smart Manager : 2019-02-12
Cover Story : 29 : 27
cover story 27 www.thesmartmanager.com The Smart Manager Jan- Feb 2019 Leaders should be aware of what happens around them. In particular, being mindful of what their employees and colleagues think and feel shows the interest of the leader towards his team. Engaging employees, allowing them to share their opinions, asking them questions and encouraging them to elaborate and expand on their perspectives, show empathy towards them and eventually lead to mutual respect and a better working relationship.
A good communicator is also a good listener. Research shows that often those who respond too quickly to statements made during meetings and discussions usually miss the point of what others are trying to say. Being a mindful listener goes often together with being approachable. Leaders need to be able to embrace a two-way communication with their employees, and this creates a base for a relationship of trust.
One critical characteristic of successful leadership is to seek and incorporate feedback. Here again, listening is important, and through verbal and non-verbal signals, it is essential to demonstrate that one is approachable and open to feedback. If a team has alternative suggestions to deliver better to the customer, or knowledge about compromised product quality, then their managers certainly need to know. Yet, sometime, they are not ready to listen, or maybe they prefer not to listen. At times, leaders perceived to be unapproachable could be in the dark about issues that are potentially threatening for the organization. As a leader, one does not always have solutions for all issues, therefore the work of her team can be fundamental.
In my interactions with many people and numerous leadership styles, I have noticed that authoritarian leaders who would not listen to their team would achieve lower results than those who build consensus and cherish an open environment, where bottom-up suggestions are welcome.
When we show that speakers have our full attention, they feel they are saying something important for us. We can take notes about what he or she is saying, use
them to elaborate on their perspectives, and try to avoid interruptions (or at least minimize them).
Imagine delivering a speech to an audience of twenty people who are all looking at their computer, or, even worse, playing with their mobile phones. After a few sentences, your motivation to speak reduces drastically and so does your communication effectiveness.
Leaders can be better listeners by consciously creating ‘safe zones’ for speakers that make them feel their ideas are valued and taken seriously. To create a safe zone, one should remove distractions between oneself and the speaker, and make direct eye contact. One should carefully read into what the speakers are saying and how they are saying it and ask questions to the speakers that are open-ended. Such verbal and non-verbal actions inspire speakers to be open, honest, and present their ideas
Like many others might have, I did experience bosses who did not listen to their subordinates. Sometimes because they had pre-conceived ideas about some matters, some other times because they thought they would know better. However, not always did they have the right solutions, and at times they did regret not to have listened A good communicator is also a good listener. Research shows that often those who respond too quickly to statements made during meetings and discussions usually miss the point of what others are trying to say.
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