Many bosses need to learn how to really listen. It requires more than just hearing the words and being able to repeat them back to the person. If you don’t master this fundamental skill, you will fail in your career.
Bosses, especially newer ones, want to express their ideas and convince others they are right. They are not interested in feedback or having conversations to build new outcomes. Instead, when they fail to really listen, they experience higher turnover, errors in system design and project overruns. These failures could have been prevented by listening and engaging their teams.
A 2018 article from Harvard Business Review states “managers who listen well are perceived as people leaders, generate more trust, instill higher job satisfaction, and increase their team’s creativity.” They also save their companies millions of dollars!
If you want to lead, you’ve got to use your ears. John Maxwell
Watch out for these pitfalls:
Being a Know-It-All. If you always believe your ideas are the best ones, you stop listening. Hanging onto your POV limits your ability to turn around projects and teams. Listen and gain insight from others. It often saves time and money… and can save your job.
Too Much Story Telling. Do you love to tell stories and feel it motivates others? If you are a highly sociable boss, you love to talk, but, usually don’t listen. You will often step over other’s ideas and experiences because you’re talking. Remember, your team has the technical skills to get the job done right the first time. Listen and encourage them to tell their stories, not just listen to yours!
When Your Team Fails to Take Responsibility. When a team shuts down and only does the minimum required to keep their jobs, it’s due to not being heard. The reason is you are not really listening. Your job is to guide them to take initiatives and trust them to become resourceful when stuck. Listen and learn from them.
Experiencing Resistance from Your Team. Teams will resist your ideas by failing to incorporate them when they don’t believe your ideas will work. Take time to talk through your assumptions with the team. Listen to their ideas. Elicit feedback. If there is conflict, talk it through to build alignment. If you are still uncertain about what to do, talk it out and listen to your business coach.
Fighting to Be Right. Do you love to be right? Most people do. However, when your team says or does something inappropriate, turn it into a learning moment. For example, a team member comments, “don’t be such a girl.” Reply, “I’m curious, what do you mean by that?”
Being a great boss requires really listening…way beyond just the words! This skill is your most important asset to be mastered as a boss!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2019
For the past 26 years, Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert. She has helped 100s of bosses create more fun, money, and success when working through confusing situations. To develop your listening skills and improve your results, contact Jeannette for straight talk with dynamic results.
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