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February 14, 2010

Management Listening – The Vital Ingredient In Employee Development

There are many tactics managers adopt when they are interacting with their teams.

On a one-to-one basis, nothing is more important than the capacity to take the time to listen effectively.

Getting to know your people well is one of the most important activities for anyone in a management or supervisory position. Armed with good knowledge about your people, you can make effective and often rapid progress.

Taking the time to spend with them, as often as you can and as one-to-one as you can is the first step, but what do you do with that important time?

Whilst many might say that spending the time telling them about your ideas and plans for the future; the way you want them to work for you and what your expectations are would be right, there is one activity that is much more important.

Taking the time to listen to them, closely where possible, is an incredibly important behavior for any manager to demonstrate, as often as they can.

So, why does listening matter as a tool to develop your people? Well, listening is the vital tool that will make you stand out as a great manager.

It has its twists and turns that you need to practice and that will enhance it as a productive skill for you as you evolve, because listening to others creates a partnership that is much more equal than the old command and control management structures.

Within that equality, you are able to leverage the perspectives, skills and talents that cumulatively, your people will bring to your team.

This is so much more than just you.

By listening carefully, you build your relationship and you help them develop. Your people learn that they themselves are powerful contributors and that you value them.

They learn as they speak as they see you listen, because it gives them the time and confidence to process thoughts and ideas as they go.

This works for many people in itself, whilst to be fair, some prefer to consider matters for themselves in their own time, yet with the time you’ve given them and that free space to air their thoughts, they will have a head start when they start to think through issues for themselves.

Listening shows them that you take them seriously and that their contribution makes a difference.

Whilst this might seem pretty much a given, you will be amazed at how many employees feel that they don’t matter and that ‘nobody ever listens’.

Even though you think you might have it right, there’s always scope to expand and learn yourself – as you listen.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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