Is Anyone Listening?

Even the most successful business leaders who have made it to the very top will undoubtedly talk about times when they felt isolated and a little lost.

To be a great business leader is a balance between – being a great listener, excellent delegation and decisive leadership.

A major part of being a leader is managing people; which is certainly one of the most feared and yet rewarding aspects of running a business.  Everyone has horror stories of a nightmare boss and their manic tendencies that drove them crazy.  Additionally, most business leaders have experienced the pain of managing employees who are simply unwilling to change or take responsibility for their actions.

It is the job of the business leader to create an environment where people feel safe.  They are the glue that sticks the business together and gives it direction.

Employees should be inspired, take pride in owning their responsibilities, and feel motivated to grow and contribute.

A good leader will consciously demonstrate the behavior that will have the most positive effect on their employees.  Leading by example is a key part of that philosophy.

The business leader must earn the respect of the employees by being able to look at issues from alternative perspectives. If employees feel that their ideas are not being listened to and considered, they will simply stop making the effort.

When problems occur in the workplace, we have a tendency to first blame the people involved.  Playing the blame game won’t solve the problem.  There is opportunity and learning when uncovering errors; and in some ways, the bigger the mistake, the greater benefit to everyone in the team.

The best way to get your employees back on track after a disappointment is to go from being a good listener to a great listener.

I sometimes wonder, when chatting to people if they are really listening – with all their attention, or are they just waiting to speak!

Creating a calm environment, free of distraction and interruptions, when preparing to listen, is fundamental to being in that moment and giving it your full attention.  

You must listen with the sole purpose of understanding. Often time constraints and workloads are convenient means for us to bypass the listening process and get directly to a solution. At the time this feels like you have solved the problem, but in reality the employee leaves feeling confused and grows emotionally detached from the problem, choosing to not care instead.

Alternatively, if you take the time to listen before offering any solutions, the employee has a totally different experience and will proactively seek ways to resolve the issue.  The key to active listening is making the person feel that they have been heard. 

It is that kind of management that will create a more productive and motivating work environment.  Of course, this can also transform relationships outside the workplace as well.

If you can’t relate to your employees and their role in the business how do you expect to be able to show empathy.

On the flip side finding someone to listen to you within the business is an important aspect to maximizing your effective leadership.   Every good leader needs a right hand man, think of it as wing man to rely upon, bouncing ideas off and discussing strategy.

Get these key factors right and being a leader will feel more like a privilege than a pain in the ear.

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