Here are three quick tips for you to consider.
Active listening requires approaching a situation with an open and curious mind. You will need to focus on someone else rather than your own thoughts during communication. This isn’t easy for most of us. But, practice, practice, practice will get you there. Active listening means that you will need to ask open-ended questions that allow the employee to elaborate or further explain his thoughts, concerns or ideas. A good open-ended question to ask after an employee has expressed his concerns can be, “How can I help?” Now that question can improve any conversation!
Most of us know that body language can send a strong message. Your body language will be the first message the employee receives when she enters your workspace. Make it a good one. If you sit at your desk, and continue to work on your computer while your employee waits for you to break – that’s not a good one. If you look up and greet the employee with a warm smile, the message is much better – “you are welcome here. I am ready to listen.” You can still ask the employee to wait while you finish, but a nice ‘howdy-do’ is – well, nice, and it will matter.
How many of you have heard, “My boss asks for my opinion, but nothing ever changes” or “…he does whatever he wants anyway.” Respecting what your employees say doesn’t mean that you have to do what they say, but having interactive dialogue where issues and ideas can be worked though will let your employee know where she stands. She won’t need to wait or wonder and she will feel heard and respected.