Amid the day-to-day chores, leaders often forget to stop and listen to employees from the company. However, ignoring what employees have to say is a serious strategic mistake: because they are at the forefront of the organization, they can have valuable information to grow it.
THE good communication it is one of the pillars of a business, especially with the changes that the market has undergone in recent years. That employee profile that only receives orders without question gave way to more active professionals, with strategic thinking and ideas that need to be taken into account.
With that in mind, we explain in this post everything you need to know to avoid mistakes when listening to employees. Interested? Stay with us!
Why is it important to listen to employees?
It is not an exaggeration to say that the company’s success is in the hands of employees. After all, they are responsible for creating new projects, serving customers well and bringing innovations so that the organization stands out in the market.
For that to happen, they need to be motivated and satisfied, with proud to be part of the company. All of this generates more productivity and proactivity, aspects that are reflected brilliantly in the business results.
There is no way for a professional to feel that way if he is ignored by his managers. The human being has the need to feel important. Leaders who do not dialogue with the team end up ignoring this need, which undermines the team’s performance.
>> To learn more about leadership, check out this other blog post:
What is leadership: the secret behind great leaders<
In addition, employees are a great source of ideas and suggestions that can change the direction of the company. A good way to extract this information is to collect feedbacks of employees periodically, just as leaders assess team performance from time to time.
How to improve communication with employees?
Starting to listen to employees sounds simple, but it’s actually a change of habit that requires daily exercise. The main steps to improve communication with employees are:
- show interest;
- don’t try to predict what they think;
- accept criticism;
- listen to all employees;
- do not judge opinions;
- seek to learn from employees.
Next, learn more about these steps and learn how to put them into practice.
Show interest listening to employees makes them feel more comfortable talking.
Call them for a one-on-one chat, ask about their career plans and how they feel working at the company. Share experiences, give tips and demonstrate that you are a true partner in your professional development.
Although, be careful not to look forced. The conversations must be authentic, otherwise the employee will notice.
There is no point in trying to maintain a dialogue if you are touching your cell phone or observing the surrounding environment while the person is speaking. These are clear signs that you are not really caring about what the person is saying.
Don’t try to predict what they think
Because they have more experience, some leaders think they can guess what employees feel. But the truth is, listening to employees is the only way to find out what they are thinking.
Another common situation is that the person is feeling unmotivated or devalued, but does not show this clearly in their attitudes. So ask questions, listen more and try to understand what employees say.
This makes it easier to identify problems and think of the best solutions to solve them.
Listening to employees also means listen to negative opinions about you. Many leaders do not know how to listen to criticism or anything that they do not like, which people management.
Listen to the problems brought by your team and be prepared to seek solutions. If the problem is pointed out to you, reflect on your attitudes. Those who are not prepared to hear criticism are also not able to accept suggestions for improvement.
Listen to all employees
Listening to employees does not mean listening to only the most experienced, those closest to you or those who stand out the most. You need to listen to everyone.
Each member of the team has something important to say to improve the day-to-day of the company, whether related to organizational climate or work processes.
Talking to an employee who is not doing so well, for example, can provide insights into what can be done to develop it and improve its performance.
Furthermore, paying attention to only a few employees can raise suspicions of favoritism, that is, it is a short way to deteriorate the environment and the productivity of the team.
Don’t judge opinions
This is a big challenge for leaders, especially when dealing with employees who are considered “problematic”. In order to properly listen to employees, it is necessary to seek understand the context of your opinions, not just the surface.
If you judge someone as stupid or disqualified for what he said, think carefully about whether he is really listening carefully.
The easiest way to understand whether or not you are judging a person is when you form an opinion before you even hear the whole message. If you notice that you are doing this, police yourself to avoid this type of attitude.
Seek to learn from employees
Many workers believe that they have nothing to teach their bosses, as they are more experienced and occupy higher positions. Listening to employees and trying to learn from them is the best way to show that things are not quite like that.
Everyone can and should share knowledge. Often, information obtained from a front-line employee can make all the difference when planning a business strategy.
Now that you understand the importance of listening to employees, how about putting what you’ve learned into practice? Always be open to dialogue with employees and try to implement the step by step that we show in this post. Thus, for sure the communication within the organization will be much more efficient!
If you liked the article, follow us on social media and receive firsthand all our content. We are in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.