Being a good listener is a trait that benefits everyone, but it’s even more important for managers. As the boss, you need the ability to make employees feel heard. Right now, you know your listening skills are lacking, and you want to do better.
Three qualities of a good listener include being fully focused on the other person, asking questions and listening as much as you speak — or more. You’re committed to making a positive change for your workforce, so use these tips to get started.
3 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills
Practice Active Listening
If employees aren’t sure you’re actually listening, it’s hard for them to truly feel heard. Avoid this by mastering the art of active listening. Actions like maintaining eye contact, nodding occasionally and paraphrasing their words show you’re engaged in the conversation and are giving them your full attention. This will also help you retain more information, because you’re invested in the conversation.
Wait for a Pause to Speak
It’s only natural to want to add your two cents to a conversation, but you don’t need to share your thoughts while the other person is speaking. It’s beyond frustrating to be trying to tell a story, but have trouble getting through it, because the other person won’t stop interrupting. Not only is this behavior rude — it can cause the other person to lose their train of thought. Before long, there will be a natural pause in the conversation, so wait until that happens to say anything.
Focus on Understanding
Walking away from a conversation with a solid grasp of the situation is a clear sign you’ve really listened to the other person. This often means asking questions to clarify anything that was unclear and learn more about the situation. Taking the time to address these issues shows the other person you care about what they have to say and want to take it all in.
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