Industry Buzz: Be Open to Listening
Why it’s important listen to your employees, and be open to what they have to say.
In today’s busy world, it’s nearly impossible to focus on just one task. In fact, at this very moment, I’m keeping an eye out for an important e-mail, writing a blog, listening to music and chatting sporadically with a coworker. And it’s only 8:15 a.m.
As a result, sometimes it’s hard for me to tear myself away from all the noise and really pay attention to the people I work with when they’re talking to me.
I didn’t realize this was a problem until one day, one of my staff writers said that in order to make sure I’m actually paying attention, she says my name, waits a few seconds to ensure I’m actually looking at her and then goes into her spiel. According to her, in the past I’ve faked her out by pretending to listen, even though it was clear to her that I wasn’t.
This revelation was an eye-opener to me. How would that make me feel if I knew my boss wasn’t listening to a word I said when I needed him to?
I somewhat blame my struggle with focusing on conversations on self-diagnosed ADD (cue the eye rolls). But the bottom line is, no matter why it’s hard for me to focus, when it comes to the people I work with, it’s imperative that I give them my undivided attention.
Recently, Joe Fuld, the president of The Campaign Workshop, wrote about the importance of listening to his employees for Inc.com. He said, “I spend a lot of time listening to my employees; sometimes to the things they say and sometimes to the things they don’t say. This can be body language, the behavior of a co-worker or when an employee is just quiet. They will tell you things, but sometimes it is my job to figure the message out.”
Thankfully, the staff writer who gave me the feedback I needed to hear just came out and said it, versus me having to figure it out on my own. And in the end, I’m very glad she did. It was a key learning moment for me as a leader, and pointed out an area in which I could improve.
Every so often, take the time to listen your employees: whether it’s through their body language, actual words (or lack thereof). In addition, be open to what they have to say. You never know — what they say could change the way you lead for the better.
Rachel Zabonick is the Editor of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach out to her about exciting events or programs your club has implemented, or to share the amazing accomplishments of a member.