Being an effective listener is one of the most important skills you can possess. When you demonstrate you're genuinely listening to others, it has a tremendous effect on relationships, especially when focusing on employee relations.
Our world seems to thrive on multi-tasking now more than ever, which affects our focus. Consequently, the art of listening is a skill that becomes a challenge.
When we multi-task, we focus on more than one thing simultaneously, fragmenting our focus and negatively affecting our listening skills. It's easy to forget how critical active listening is and precisely what we need to do to listen and get the whole picture.
How often have you been in a conversation when you or the other participant has lost focus and is simultaneously looking at their phone or working on something else? In casual conversations, you can often get away with this. But when it comes to employee relations, the effects can be particularly challenging.
It's easy to forget how critical active listening is and precisely what we need to do to listen and get the whole picture. But if we don't take the time to learn to listen and then put those skills to use, employee relations will suffer from the get-go.
Is Listening the Secret Ingredient to Positive Employee Relations?
When you review these statistics, you may be surprised to learn how the spoken message is communicated. Believe it or not, only 7% of what we convey is by words, with 38% indicated by the tone of voice. Finally, we transmit 55% of the meaning non-verbally. * Source: Mehrabian, 1981
You want to hear what is being said and what isn't being said.
We must fully engage and actively listen if we only convey 7% of what we verbalize to others.
We must also consider that listening is much more than just hearing spoken words. It's about really focusing on the person speaking.
Have you ever been part of a conversation where the other person waits for their turn to speak rather than genuinely listening? Or maybe you've been guilty of that (most of us have). While the other person may carry on talking, it doesn't mean they don't pick up on your lack of attention and focus on what they have to say.
Can you imagine how damaging this can be for employee relations? Or relationships of all kinds, for that matter.
Don't think ahead when someone is talking. Instead, listen to them, and remain in the moment. Pay attention to the speed, volume, and voice tone. So often, messages live below the surface and aren't evident unless we pay attention.
How listening impacts business and employee relations.When consulting, I find poor listening causes the most significant challenges. When employees misinterpret the message being shared, they may feel offended. Or, perhaps even worse, they may disengage entirely. Ultimately, this negatively impacts employee relations and overall productivity.
One who is focused and actively listens asks appropriate questions to seek clarification and information when they don't fully comprehend the speaker's words. I've seen the direct correlation between listening and employee relations through consulting.
The bottom line is poor listening skills threaten team interactions.
Here's the thing: you can develop the art of listening or enhance your listening skills through practice. It's a skill you can focus on and grow like any other.
And why not take the time to do this? After all, you'll benefit tremendously the more you focus on building your listening skills. And it won't only be you who benefits from listening. You'll find personal, and employee relations improve almost instantly just by taking the time to listen.
Listening is a skill that relates directly to emotional intelligence. Everything changes when we recognize the importance of listening and how it improves employee relations. To learn more about leading effectively, look at this next workshop: Leading With Emotional Effectiveness.
Did you enjoy this blog? Here are three more just for you:
How to Successfully Retain a High Performing Team »
Five Powerful Ways to Demonstrate Employee Appreciation »
How To Motivate Employees to Be Their Best »
This article was originally published on April 14, 2017, and has been updated (February 2023).
More Motivational Reads Here »
Are you Emotionally Intelligent?
Sign up for Linda's monthly tips to build your Emotional Intelligence and reduce Emotional Hijacking!