When you’re leading a business or in charge of a team, good communication is an essential foundation of success. However, communication with your employees isn’t just about assigning tasks or giving orders, even when you’re the boss. It’s also about listening! By listening to your team members, you show appreciation, learn about issues, and improve your relationships. To strengthen your communication skills, check out these four tips for becoming a better listener.
The Importance of Eye Contact
One simple way to improve your listening skills is to focus on eye contact. When you’re talking to someone, do you look directly at them, or are you busy on your phone or thinking about a different workplace issue? While you likely have a lot going on as a workplace leader, it’s important to keep eye contact during a conversation. This shows that you’re present, focused, and invested in what the other person has to share.
Listening Without Interruptions
Another easy way to improve your listening skills is to practice limiting your interruptions. As a workplace leader, your time is important and you have many other things going on. However, try not to interrupt others when they’re sharing something with you. When you interrupt someone, it shows you don’t care about what they’re saying or that you’d rather be doing something else. This sends the wrong message to your employees, and they may hesitate to approach you again about ideas or issues.
Especially in conversations where an employee is expressing concerns or feedback, it can be easy to leap to conclusions. When talking to someone, approach the conversation with an open mind. Be receptive to what they’re saying and do your best to avoid immediate negativity. Even when you don’t agree with the other person, listening without judgment allows them to share their thoughts, which improve morale and communications for everyone. After listening throughout to what the other person has to say, you can then work to find a solution that works for all.
Keep the Conversation Going
Finally, show you’re engaged in the conversation by asking questions and continuing the conversation. This not only shows that you’re active in the conversation, but allows you to use each conversation to find ways to develop new ideas, incorporate feedback, and improve your workplace.
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