What do you think is the most common pain point that employees all over the world are experiencing when it comes to their relationship with their bosses?
If you thought that the most common pain point is that employees feel that their leaders don’t listen to them, you’re absolutely right!
Emtrain did a study in which 1 in 10 employees said that they did not trust that their leaders would listen if they made a complaint. If this is not addressed, employees will not feel supported and subsequently, their performance will suffer.
Listening vs Active Listening
In her book “My Life in Leadership”, Frances Hesselbein, the former CEO of the Girl Scouts, described the connection between listening and leadership perfectly.
“Listening is an art. When people are speaking, they require our undivided attention. We focus on them; listen very carefully to the spoken words and the unspoken messages. This means looking directly at the person, eyes connected; we forget we have a watch, just focusing for that moment on that person. It’s called respect, it’s called appreciation – and it’s called leadership.”
Did you know that 80% of our success in learning from other people is based on how well we listen?
Oftentimes leaders make the mistake of simply hearing someone out instead of actively listening to what they are saying. As a result, your employees still feel like they’re not being heard. If you read Frances’ description, you will notice that there is nothing passive about it. Listening is a powerful and highly active process — good listeners (and leaders) know this.
The Importance of Active Listening in Leadership
1. Show that you care
Actively listening to your team’s problems, feedback, and ideas make them feel valued and cared for. It shows that you care about what they’re going through and you can empathize with their feelings. This will create trust and connection between you and your team — boosting teamwork, motivation, and overall performance of your team.
- Helps you make better decisions
If you don’t pay attention to what your team is saying, you will not fully understand the situation or problem that you are trying to deal with. You will not be able to make informed decisions or give your team good advice. Listening to your team can provide you with a range of perspectives and ideas that can help you make better decisions or strategies for your business.
- Helps you learn and improve
Since most leaders spend a majority of their time away from the front line, you might have a limited understanding of your customers and what’s going on in your business. Listening to your team will provide you with an insight into the problems and pain points that your customers or employees may have. Armed with this information, you can start doing something to improve the situation and capitalize on the opportunities you discover.
- Builds trust and strengthens relationships
When employees feel like they are being listened to they will be more likely to express their honest feedback and ideas to their leaders. This will create trustworthy relationships that inspire loyalty — making employees feel that they are a valued member of the team.
- Boosts employee engagement and productivity
Employees will be more likely to provide their ideas and feedback when leaders actually listen to what they have to say. This will increase employee engagement and the overall performance of the organization.
Now that you understand the benefits of active listening in leadership, it’s time to try it out for yourself.