This is the third part of our roundtable series. Previously we considered communication and appreciation.
Do you listen to your team? Do you hear their input or only your own ideas? I am not talking about hearing the chatter and noise in day-to-day conversations. Listening is a skill. It is vital for anyone, especially as a leader. If you want your team to trust you and collaborate with you, then they need to know you listen and that when they speak you are truly hearing what they say.
Choose to actively listen. Make eye contact, acknowledge, and verbalize what they are saying to you so that you understand the message they are conveying. Ask open-ended questions and confirm their responses.
Ask them questions that dig into the conversation and cause your team members to clarify the points being raised. Ask them to discuss further what they have learned through situations and projects.
Don’t just nod your head when they are speaking, respond to the person talking. Allow each person to express themselves without being interrupted. Be constructive in your responses – such as, “How can I help you with this idea?” or, “You’ve raised a great point, let’s explore this and see how it might fit in this project.”
Being an active and responsive listener will foster a culture of respect, collaboration, and engagement of ideas across the team. As conversations take place, ensure those who are quiet are allowed to engage. If your team believes you truly listen to them, this will influence how they act in the workplace and their performance.
You set the culture of the team and the workplace. How can you actively engage your team by listening?