Being A Stronger Active Listener With Your Workforce

How to Become a Stronger Active Listener with Your Workforce

Jul 26, 2023 | Job Seekers

As a company leader, listening is one of the most critical skills that you can possess. By leveraging the capability, you can learn more about your organization. Plus, it’s a potent tool for building trust, earning loyalty, and spurring innovation. Listening also makes employees feel valued, leading to a positive culture where everyone feels supported and appreciated.

While it’s easy to assume that listening is simply something everyone knows how to do, it’s actually a skill that needs building. Active listening, in particular, involves specific techniques, and they can take time to master. If you want to become a strong active listener in your workplace, here are some tips to get you started.

How to Become a Stronger Active Listener with Your Workforce

Eliminate Distractions

Active listening involves giving the other person your full attention. In today’s workplace, that’s often far more challenging than some would assume. There’s a general hustle and bustle in many work environments. Plus, notifications on computers or phones may draw your attention away – even for a moment – causing you to lose focus on what’s being shared.

When engaging in conversation with an employee or fellow manager, take a moment to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Silence notifications on smartphones, put desk phones on do not disturb, and close laptops. If you’re in a busy, open work area, invite the person to come to your office, especially if you have a door you can close. A conference room that isn’t in use can work similarly well.

By taking those steps, you’re limiting the chances that anything will disrupt the discussion. Plus, it makes it easier to focus on what’s being shared.

Fully Engage

Fully engaging during a conversation requires more than hearing what’s said; it also involves eye contact and body positioning. When you want to use active listening, make sure you face the person that’s speaking and keep an open posture. Additionally, make eye contact, and don’t be afraid to nod or use facial expressions to show that you’re taking in what they’re sharing.

While these gestures seem small, they show the other person you’re invested. Plus, they can help you remain fully engaged along the way, ensuring you’re focused on the discussion.

Aim to Understand

When many people engage in conversation, they don’t spend their time focusing on what the other party is saying. Instead, they start planning their replies before the other person finishes, and that activity can cause you to miss out on critical points.

Active listening is a technique that requires both focus and patience. Instead of preparing your responses, take steps to improve your understanding of what’s being said. Along the way, notice their facial expressions and body language, as it may reveal that something is being left unspoken. Let the person finish speaking, then paraphrase what you took from that part of the discussion.

If anything is unclear, ask clarifying questions, ensuring you have a full understanding before you offer any responses. Ideally, you want to use open-ended questions, such as, “Can you describe how you see that playing out?” or “Could you expand on that point a bit more?” That not only helps you gather more information but it demonstrates that you’re engaged and interested in their perspective, both of which are beneficial.

Create a Judgment-Free Zone

Active listening works best when employees feel they can express themselves without fear of judgment. Avoid interrupting the person at all costs, as that’s often interpreted as disapproval and can come across as harsh or rude, and typically causes the other person to disengage or become defensive.

Instead, remain patient and open throughout the conversation. Even if you disagree with the perspective, learning about it can provide value. Plus, you end up with a workplace where people become comfortable with discussing their opinions and viewpoints. That creates an environment that’s better for discourse and can lead to innovations and opportunities that would otherwise be missed.

Avoid Telling Them What to Do

As a company leader, it’s normal to think that simply instructing others on how to handle a situation is best. However, if you focus on guiding the conversation using smart questions, you can help a person learn how to solve the problem themselves. The approach is often highly empowering for your employees, and it gives them valuable skills they can leverage later.

Plus, this method creates chances for employees to express what’s on their minds even if they aren’t looking for an answer. In these cases, it develops a beneficial rapport that’s often far more beneficial than what’s built when you skip straight to solutions.

Practice at Every Opportunity

As with any skill, practice makes perfect when you’re trying to improve your active listening. Make using the technique a habit by harnessing the strategies during your day-to-day. For example, use active listening when speaking with family members, cashiers at your favorite café, or anyone you encounter as you move through life.

The benefit of practicing outside of the workplace is that it allows active listening to become your default. Essentially, you’ll develop a habit that ultimately becomes your norm, and that makes employing the strategies at work far easier.

Do You Need Top Talent to Fill Your Vacant Positions? Burnett Specialists Is Here to Help!

Active listening is a critical tool for succeeding as a company leader, but if you need to find top talent to fill vacant positions, active listening alone may not be enough. By partnering with an experienced recruitment agency, you can get access to vast talent pools brimming with highly skilled candidates looking for work right away. Along with shortening your time-to-hire, a recruitment agency can also substantially reduce your recruitment costs.

At Burnett Specialists, we understand what it takes to connect with and engage top talent, ensuring the candidate experience is elevated. If you have vacant positions to fill, the skilled recruitment team at Burnett Specialists can make securing the right-fit candidates quickly as simple as possible. Request more information to see how Burnett Specialists can streamline your hiring today.

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