29 Aug Active Listening: Listening with your Heart
In our interactions with employees and managers through various forums, we highlight the importance of listening. However, in order to be a good listener, we forget that this skill that requires quite a bit of practice and intention. And we have to invest time to be a good listener.
Active listening is a technique used to tighten the gap between what we hear and what we retain. We have to make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, also try to understand the complete message being conveyed.
It is a great technique and if practised can be very beneficial to the larger organisation. But how do we apply this concept on an organisational level? Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Listen to understand, rather than to respond:
Whenever we are in a conversation, we often tend to respond to the person while the person is still talking. When we are so focused on responding, we often miss what is actually being said. Responding is necessary, but in order to respond effectively, we first have to understand what we are responding to.
Surveys are the easiest and the best way to collect feedback and listen on an organisational level. The indicators derived from these surveys give data which communicates a clearer story than a thousand of conversations together.
Process & respond to feedback:
Summarising the points post a one-one conversation is essential. This is a key set of behaviours for listening with empathy. Another critical set of behaviours is responding. While it’s important to be solution-oriented, we also want employees to see that we’re working with the same set of assumptions highlighted by them when driving towards resolution.
Body language and expressions are non-verbal signs between interpreting the conversation as sincere or as a lie. At an organisational level, there are nonverbal cues for how employees feel about your culture everywhere you look. Employee surveys are indicators of how employees perceive organisational culture – they fill in the gaps between what is said and what is actually happening to help one paint a complete picture of what’s going on in the organisation.