Working as a manager requires that people become excellent communicators. To do a good job they are required to clearly convey instructions and expectations. They need to be able to inspire people and get them to follow the policies and procedures of a company, which requires them to communicate effectively. What many managers forget, however, is that part of great communication is being able to listen.
When working with other people it is essential to be able to listen not just to the words people are saying, but to the information they are trying to convey. Like anything else in life, listening takes practice. It should be done intentionally and consistently until you are an expert at it. Having strong listening skills will benefit you in every aspect of your life, but especially in your role as a manager.
There are many things someone can do to become a better listener. Each of the following tips can be helpful to anyone who is willing to put them into practice. Of course, some of them will be better for some people than others, but they are all effective ways to become a better listener.
- Eliminate Distractions – When someone comes in your office to talk to you, turn off your computer monitor and commit to ignoring any calls or texts you receive. The person you are listening to deserves your undivided attention.
- Keep Emotions In Check – What people say can often be upsetting or hurtful, but this is not the time to react. It is best to keep all emotions in check while listening so you can focus on the meaning behind the words that are being said.
- Take Notes – Writing down key ideas is a great way to become a better listener. Make sure the person doing the talking knows that the writing you are doing is about the conversation you are having, so they don’t feel like you are ignoring them.
- Ask Questions – If you’re not sure you understood, or heard something properly, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it. Make sure you hear and understand everything the individual is saying before moving on.
- Repeat it back – When given instructions or told something important, repeat it back to the person you’re listening too. Don’t use the exact same wording, but rephrase it so you know you heard them correctly and they can make corrections where necessary.
Kaizen Guide: Better your business with continuous improvement
To be successful, you can’t make an improvement once and forget about it. Effective lean businesses use kaizen, which means “continuous improvement”. In kaizen, everyone looks for ways to improve processes on a daily basis. This Kaizen Guide explains the kaizen mindset, basic kaizen concepts including the PDCA cycle, and real-world examples.
Putting these tips into practice is often easier said than done, but it is well worth the effort. When you are a great listener you are going to get many great benefits. One obvious benefit is the fact that you will have heard and understood what people are saying to you so you can act accordingly. Something equally important, however, is that by being a good listener, the person speaking feels valued and important. This can help build up a stronger relationship between you and those around you. When people know that you will actually listen to what they say and not just endure the conversation, they are more likely to respect you and give you their best efforts.
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- Gemba– creativesafetysupply.com
- Communication 101– 5snews.com
- 5 Tips to Motivate Excellence– kaizen-news.com
- HazCom: Simplified Program Ideas for Safety Managers– safetyblognews.com
- Five Ways To Be An Approachable, Effective Leader In The Workplace– blog.creativesafetysupply.com
- 5 Ways to Motivate Employees– creativesafetypublishing.com