Effective Listening Tips for Managers

The general perception might be that the majority of a manager’s job is to give orders and direct their employees, but their job is just as much about LISTENING as it is about talking.  Yes, it is an integral part of a manager’s job to guide employees and be the voice of authority, but how can they know what direction their employees should be guided in or what their needs are to get on that path of optimum productivity unless the managers are actively listening to what these employees have to say?

Effective communication is a two way street.  Being a great manager isn’t about who can talk the loudest to get people to listen to them; it’s about fully understanding your employees and being someone they can approach to communicate their ideas and frustrations.  In an open environment where communication between managers and employees is encouraged, you will find the most productive and satisfied employees, those who are not stifled or disheartened by a lack of means to reach their managers.  By practicing effective listening skills, you will ensure happy, engaged employees and learn valuable insight about what you as a manager and your company as a whole might be doing well, and areas where improvements can be made.  Read below for a Call Center Cafe blog article with tips for managers on enhancing their listening skills.

Focus your attention on the person who is talking to you.
When another person is talking to you, either face-to-face or on the phone, focus your attention on what they are saying. Don’t do other activities at the same time, look elsewhere, or answer another call. If you are speaking face-to-face, look the person in the eye, make sure your body is turned forward, and keep a calm but attentive countenance. By giving the other person your full attention, you’ll not only absorb the message more fully, but you’ll also increase the other person’s confidence that you are listening attentively.
Listen for key information and key feelings.
Good listening is a job of the the ears, the mind, and the heart. Of course you should listen for the key facts of what the person is saying, but it’s also essential to listen to how it’s said. Every time an employee  tells you something, they’re giving you hints about their frame of mind, seriousness, communication style, and perspective. This can provide you with valuable insights about how to give feedback for the best results.
Listen to the other person entirely before speaking.
When verbally communicating with anther person, always let them finish speaking before you respond. Don’t interrupt, rush the person, or start thinking about what you’re going to say until the other person is finished talking.
Pause for a moment before you respond.
Once the other person is done talking, pause for a second before you begin to talk. This makes it so the message sinks in, gives you a second to come up with your response, and shows the other person you’re actively listening to what he or she has to say. You might be pleasantly surprised at what happens when you do this-we’ve found that many people are shocked to discover someone listening with such patience and attentiveness.
Show empathy.

Whenever there’s an opportunity, empathize with your employees and show your support. Even if you don’t completely agree with what they tell you, it’s important that they feel validated. Showing your understanding will help you to keep a good relationship with the people you manage. Following are a few lead-ins to empathy statements:

“I can definitely appreciate… ”
“I understand… ”
“I know what you are saying… ”
“I don’t blame you for being frustrated about that… “
Confirm your understanding.

If what the other person has said to you is lengthy or complex, confirm your understanding of what he or she has said. To do this, you can give a brief rundown of what you’ve heard and then ask if what you said is correct. Confirming is important not only because it shows you were being attentive, but also because it gives the person an opportunity to hear his or her statement out loud. This gives the person a chance to correct you if the information is not accurate.

http://callcentercafe.com/the-managers-guide-to-active-listening/

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