Active listening is a crucial and imperative skill to use in workplace settings. Employees want to feel heard and appreciated when they come to work every day. Active listening involves listening to your employees with all six senses. Their days are unpredictable. As their manager and leader, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. According to Medium, “active listening is the key to getting the most out of the conversations you have with your employees.” Active listening allows you to focus on how to improve your organization for the best reasons. Rather than keeping a rehearsed speech in your mind, process the information your employee is giving you so that you can simultaneously consider what they have to say, commit it to your memory, and figure out how to respond in a calm, cool and collected manner. This blog will help you learn tips and tricks on how to actively listen to your employees and heed their feedback so that you can improve your organization to the best of your ability.
Signs of An Active Listener
Being an active listener involves zero interruptions when the speaker is attempting to speak out their thoughts. When an employee comes to you in confidence, they expect you to be open-minded and non-judgmental in your conversation with them. According to Indeed, “when people know they can speak freely to you without interruptions, judgment or unwelcome interjections, they’ll be more likely to confide in you.” This is particularly helpful when you meet someone new or a possible external client who wants to get to know your organization. First impressions count because they are unforgettable memories. When your intention is to develop a long-term working relationship, you want to ensure that you leave the conversation on a happy and encouraging note versus the latter.
Asking questions allows you to evaluate the progress an employee has made during their journey at your organization. According to Indeed, you need to “make sure these questions cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ’no’”. An example of such a question could be “Yes, I agree that our social media followers need to increase. Do you have any suggestions to make that happen?”. Asking questions will give the employees a sense of security to trust you completely to be their guiding light for their present and future. It’s important to remember that employees are human beings who deserve to feel and let out their emotions. The natural reaction to an emotional outburst is to try to make the other person feel better. However, sometimes you simply need to let the employee feel how they feel. You need to keep in mind that hearing bad news hurts. But they will get through their emotions because you handled the conversation with dignity and grace. So, what can you do to be supportive? Ask questions like:
- What can I do to help you get through this?
- What’s on your mind right now?
- What areas of your work are you struggling the most with?
- What areas of your role do you think are your strengths?
Questions like those listed above will allow an employee not only to open up to you but also help build the relationship they have with you in a positive manner.
One of the most common phrases we’ve all heard in life is to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share one another’s feelings. Trying to feel for each other at work is crucial for an organization to succeed. There is no doubt that work can be tiring and stressful. But having an empathizing team will help you get through anything work throws at you. In the context of work, acknowledging and improving empathy decreases stress, builds positive relationships, and increases profit.
Checking in with the Employee
“Read the room!” This is something heard a lot in both professional and personal situations. A team is a team irrespective of the team members’ locations. If we’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s to build connections with people and maintain them to the fullest. Asking questions to catch up about each other’s lives, such as “how’s your day going?”, “how’s your family?”, or “how are you feeling about your current work and schedule?”, assures your employees that you care about their mental and physical health. There is always something to discuss at work, from work tasks to how teammates spend their free time. Casual hangouts like virtual or in-person coffee breaks can ease the tension and create a lighter and more fun atmosphere.
Smiling and Nodding
Verbal gestures are not the only skills to develop when practicing active listening. Non-verbal skills are also just as important. The two main skills that you need to be conscious of are smiling and nodding. It’s so easy to lose track and allow your mind to wander away from the conversation at hand. When your employee is confiding in you, they will expect you to give them your full undivided attention. Generally, non-verbal cues, including smiling and nodding are effective ways to show that not only do you care about your employees’ well-being, but also care about their professional journey in your organization.
Assessing the Impact of Active Listening on Employee Experience
A wonderful work experience doesn’t just come with an exciting workload. It also comes with awesome teammates and a great leadership team. PxidaEX is an amazing tool for your employees to talk through their professional experiences and help you give them an even better one. With the variety of company culture and work-life balance surveys, you can figure out how to actively listen to your employees and give them the work experience they deserve. Sign up for a free trial today!