“Will you PLEEEEEEEEZZZZ listen to me?”

October 12, 2009 at 5:18 pm 2 comments

“Will you PLEEEEEEEEZZZZ listen to me?”

 Have you ever heard this from someone you manage?  Probably not, but chances are, if you’re like most managers the thought has crossed the mind of someone that works (or has worked) for you.  If you’re not sure, here’s a simple test: 

Has ANYone, at ANY time, EVER said the above words to you?   Your spouse?   Other family members?  Friends?   At home?   At the club?   At a party?

If the answer is “yes”, you can be sure the words have passed through at least one of your employee’s minds.  You may think you listen to them, but do you really LISTEN?  Letting others talk is not, by itself listening; it’s a good start, but it’s not enough.  You’ve heard it said, “listening is a skill”.  This really is true!  You have to work at it, the same as you do for anything you really want to be become successful at.

Here are five keys to becoming a better listener…especially to your employees:

1)       Put away your work, or at least set it aside.  As soon as an employee comes to you to talk (not merely for a brief interruption) carefully note where you were and set your work aside.  Eliminate the temptation to dilute your focus from what is most important…the employee.

2)       Bite your tongue.  The best sign that you’re not listening is…that you’re talking.  There are other signs as well, but the worst thing you can do is to cut someone off mid-sentence or mid-thought.  It sends several messages including, “you’re wrong”; “you’re thoughts are not as valid or important as mine”; or “you’re not important”.  Make certain your employee is finished before you begin speaking.

3)       Smile and lean forward.  A [smile is] worth a thousand words.  By smiling and leaning forward you demonstrate full interest and participation in what the other person is saying.

4)       Ask questions even if you don’t have any.  You can’t ask intelligent questions if you haven’t been listening.  Questions are the best indication that you’ve been listening and that you are truly committed to resolving whatever’s being discussed.

5)       Begin your own comments by paraphrasing their comments.  As with asking questions, integrating the employee’s comments into your response demonstrates listening and shows consideration of their perspective; it also helps you frame the issue more clearly in your own mind.

Really listening truly is a skill worth learning, with a pay-off many times the investment!

Lead on………..    Cliff


Entry filed under: leadership, management. Tags: , , , , , .

Be the “Purple Cow” Every Damn Thing is Your Own Fault

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Project Management Hut  |  October 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Your second point is probably the most important. This is a sign of someone not listening to what the other is saying (and most probably the other person is not listening to what he’s saying).

    I have published an excellent article on the subject, being heard and not ignored, hope you’ll have the chance to read it.

    • 2. cwoodbury  |  October 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks for the comment…and for passing along your article! Excellent piece, and one well worth the read to anyone working in and with teams!


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