I have written about the benefits of listening generally but what effect might listening have in your workplace and on your career? Anecdotally listening seems to improve productivity, reaching your goals more quickly and creating better working relationships. All good news for your workplace, your business and your career.
Listening as a manager
Particularly if you are a manager then listening skills will demonstrate to your team that you are interested in what they are telling you, building trust and rapport as well as demonstrating that you have a caring attitude. This may well have a positive effect on any performance issues too. Bonus.
You can also encourage your co-workers to listen to one another, building trust between them and improving employee well-being since being heard, as we discussed last week, is a basic human need. By listening to one another they are likely to improve the clarity they have around a project and help them maintain focus because they understand what is going on…instead of talking over each other, having endless meetings that go around in circles and having to re-do tasks. This is great for team building, reducing the incidences of interpersonal conflicts in the workplace, creating an environment of respect and calm; sounds good doesn’t it?
Team task: think about when attentive listening has helped a project (or when not listening has not helped)
Benefits of improving listening skills
By improving your own and your employees’ listening skills you improve your capacity to learn, making you more capable and competent. From getting information out of meetings to listening to instructions it builds confidence and helps you (and them) build knowledge and skills – both technical and soft. Listening can help bridge the gap between what you know now and what you need to learn.
Through active listening, you can motivate and encourage others (one of the reasons I love coaching and mentoring) and thus help people reach their potential. This is a brilliant way to foster a feeling of commitment and feeling part of a tribe (again, basic human needs). It needn’t take much:
- listen to someone and provide feedback (if asked)
- listen to concerns when taking over a new team
- use listening in negotiations between two (or more) parties
- encourage someone who is feeling disheartened
Listening to others
Listening to others can help you understand what is going on more widely as well as helping focus on what might be different instead of forging ahead with the familiar. Whatever your role, if you have customers, stakeholders or anyone relying on your work then listening to them can help you understand them and what they want/need from you; saving time and resources. It will also gain their trust and possibly loyalty – a useful thing to have at any point in your career.
As always, if you feel like you need someone to listen to you, without judgement and confidentially, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org