Why Managers Need to be Good Listeners
A recent study has found that managers are not very good listeners. In fact, the study showed that three out of four managers really don’t listen all that well.
When managers needed to have a serious conversation with an employee, they were more interested in getting their own ideas across than questioning and attempting to learn what the worker thought. Only about one-third of the managers, according to the research, questioned their workers in order to better understand how they felt. And only about one-fourth were interested in finding out how the worker felt.
Emotions are ignored
When having a discussion with an employee, managers generally aren’t interested in the emotions the worker maybe feeling and why he or she is feeling them. The managers are more interested in focusing on problem solving and in expressing their views on how to proceed.
In this mindset, managers may perceive open communication as more of a hindrance than a help in dealing with an issue. And, in fact, people who are perceived to be better at projecting control and authority are more often promoted to managerial positions. Listening skills and being sensitive to the emotions of others are not very high on the list of skills companies look for in their leaders.
Listening is crucial
But this is a very short-sighted viewpoint because listening is absolutely essential for effective management. It is necessary for working and collaborating well with other people.
Without good listening skills, managers won’t be able to understand how their people are really feeling. Workers may not completely understand their assignments, and they won’t have the chance to express ideas that may help their team. Also, without good listening skills, managers will have difficulty dealing with conflicts among their employees.
Being in control is often important for good management practice, but when it prevents a manager from making an effort to really listen to an employee, it is not the best way to manage.
Taking the time to listen and understand another person’s viewpoint and feelings can make the difference between miscommunication and finding a way forward.