No one can deny the important role that listening plays in our day-to-day communication. Let’s face it, as managers and supervisors, we spend at the very least 50% of our time listening to others. We can’t help it! We have fires to put out, deadlines to meet, and decisions to make that rely not only on our observations and know-how, but also on what others tell us.
Effective and professional management is all about developing strong and mutually respectful relationships. By our not listening, our ability to manage is greatly affected. Our relationships with others suffer the most significant impact as people then get a clear message that their input is not valued and that we don’t care about them. They feel discounted, ignored, and quickly lose initiative and any motivation to get involved.
Here’s the good news! Developing our listening skills will significantly increase our ability to make the right decisions, take appropriate action, solidify, and mend our relationships. We can become proactive listeners by following the next few steps.
The process of listening is a conscious one. It is a decision we make. First, we must remember to listen. Then we must want to listen and then must choose to listen. Only we can decide whether or not to listen.
First, effective or balanced listening requires a commitment to give someone our undivided attention. Listening from a neutral, open-minded position without interruptions, prejudice, or preconceptions facilitates objectivity and creates balance.
The next step requires our ability to concentrate not only on the content of the message but also how the message is delivered. In other words, we must avoid focusing all our attention on what is being said, but also focus on how it is said. When we listen to both words and emotions, we begin to notice a fascinating thing; we absorb both content and intent and our understanding deepens.
We should listen with a view to acquire knowledge and increase our understanding, after all understanding and gathering information are key objectives to listening.
The more information we gather, the better we understand a situation, and the people involved, the more likely we are to make sound and responsible decisions and take subsequent appropriate action.
Concentrate; on words and feelings
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