You must learn to get the balance right as a leader. When you are so determined to protect your business, this could be to the detriment of the people that matter, your employees. Many employees talk about wanting their voices to be heard, the fact is that they want someone to listen to them. Employees demand feedback, but they want support too. And this means that leaders have to be more aware of individual needs. What does it take to learn how to listen to your employees?
Advisors like Paul Ognibene provide a treasure trove of information on being a great leader. But a great leader is not just someone who knows how to be in charge, they are someone who is very aware of their surroundings. This means that if you are not able to acknowledge the situation based on body language and other forms of non-verbal communication, you have to work hard on developing this intuition. Learning to be engaged in a conversation is not just about listening, it’s about understanding what you need to do to be present. We’ve all had conversations with people who are not actually in the room, despite being physically in front of you. And as a leader, everybody is keeping their eye on every move you make. If you ever appear disconnected, this will be to your detriment.
Learning to Engage
Learning to listen is not just about listening to what they have to say, but it’s about asking them to elaborate and encourage them to expand upon what they mean. If you start to engage yourself in a more active way like this, you will start to follow up with your employees. This gives them a signal that they know you are listening and paying attention, and it gives you the opportunity to check in with reality. It’s a habit that is so important, but asking questions could be a very simple way for you to remind yourself to engage. But it’s about making sure that you ask questions that encourage employees to elaborate.
You may think that you are someone who keeps your mouth shut until it’s time for you to speak. One of the grave mistakes leaders make is that they think that everything they say is important. The best leaders are those who make their followers feel that everyone is the same, including the boss. And if you judge others, not only are you making harsh criticisms about something different, exposing yourself as immature, but you are not listening. And if you are unable to embrace new approaches and merely judge what other people say, you will never adapt to change.
Remember, it’s about developing the skill. You may feel that external stresses are getting to, which hinders your ability to listen. But this is where you have to learn to take a step back. Running a business is not easy, and any external pressure can knock you off-kilter in an emotional sense. But if your employees feel that you’re not listening to them, this is a one-way ticket to low morale.