You want your employees to feel heard. To accomplish your goal, you need to be an active listener. Otherwise, your workers may feel like you are tuning them out. This can impact workplace satisfaction. And it may lead your workers to look elsewhere to achieve their career aspirations.
There are many things that you can do to become a better active listener to your workforce. These include:
Improving Your Active Listening Skills at Work
1. Eliminate Distractions
When an employee speaks with you, resist the urge to take your smartphone out of your pocket and look at it. Or, if a worker visits your office and asks to chat, turn off your computer or move away from it. In either of these scenarios, you should give your worker your undivided attention. Then, you can focus on what’s most important: listening to what this employee says and responding accordingly.
2. Use Body Language to Your Advantage
Let your non-verbal cues show an employee that you are actively engaged in a conversation with them. For example, you can nod your head, lean in, or use other forms of body language throughout a conversation with a worker. Your body language shows you are focused on what your worker is saying. On top of that, it may help you avoid interrupting a worker while he or she is speaking.
3. Summarize What the Speaker Said
In a conversation with an employee, it can be beneficial to summarize what the worker shared with you. If you do so, be brief. You can share a few sentences to explain what the employee said and respond from here. Using a summary can help you clarify what an employee told you. Once you deliver your summary, you can continue your conversation with the employee.
4. Take Notes
If necessary, you can jot down notes while an employee speaks with you. This can help you remember everything that an employee has said. However, you should still continue to make consistent eye contact when you speak with an employee, even if you take notes. Eye contact can make a world of difference, as it helps you establish a genuine connection to a worker during a conversation.
5. Ask Follow-Up Questions
Do not hesitate to share any questions you have with an employee. Typically, it is a good idea to use a combination of open and closed-ended questions. You can use these questions to get additional insights into an employee’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions. If you ask the right questions, you can help a worker solve a problem. Furthermore, your questions may help you improve your relationship with a worker and drive employee engagement.
Active listening can have far-flung effects. If you actively listen to your workers, you can build positive relationships with them. These relationships can lead workers to come to you any time they have concerns or questions. They may help your business boost its talent retention levels as well.
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