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The art of listening is a dying one. Or so it would seem.  Have you found yourself in the position of supposedly conversing with an employee only to find that you have done most of the talking and the employee has done most of the listening?  This is a roadway to ineffective leadership and discourages engagement from most employees.  Creating the opportunity to speak with employees rather than at them and to sincerely listen to what they say when you ask their opinions is of unbelievable value to all.  Knowing that you hear them and will actually respond to their comments and observations will go farther in promoting employee longevity than monetary compensation in some cases.   Placing value on their thoughts will mean more that giving them a raise.

As opposed to really listening, many people feel the need to interject their opinions or comments on a particular issue when someone else is speaking.  Interrupting with their own thoughts rather than intently focusing what the employee or other person is saying, this kind of leader is already steps ahead formulating a response rather than truly listening.

Nodding in agreement with an employee during an interaction will indicate that you are aware and are receiving well the words and thoughts being presented.  Showing that you care about what the employee is saying is another way to engage conversation and interaction from employees.  Taking at rather than “with” by dominating the conversation and allowing little or no dialog will defeat the purpose of employee/employer interactions.  After all..it isn’t about YOU the employer, but rather what you can accomplish by listening to employees and showing you understand their thoughts and feeling.

There is a simply fact stated by Richard Branson of Virgin Group, “It is a simply fact that nobody has every learned anything by listening to themselves speak”.  So get out among your employees, truly listen to what they are saying and respond like you care. They will recognize that you do and your company will begin to develop the culture necessary for success.

Check out Sharon's Article in ISSA Today
Shockingly Disconnected!