Improve Your Management Skills: Be a Good Listener

October 21, 2015


Improve Your Management Skills: Be a Good Listener

I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions. Lee Iacocca

Previously, we’ve discussed the critical skills a facilities manager needs in her/his toolbox to succeed, from time management hacks to developing leaders on your team.

One of the most important communications skills you need to master is how to listen better and more actively to everyone who can help you become the facilities manager you want to be.

In fact, research by Korn Ferry International concluded active listening may be the most important skill in your toolbox.

Why? Quite simply, it helps you while learning all about your facility on the go, from the roof that requires ongoing maintenance to staffers who may require different methods of managing to be successful.

As the myth goes, however, active listening is a luxury most workers can’t afford. They’re too busy chasing productivity trying to multitask their way out of the office a few minutes early.

Yet, there’s little real value in multitasking, according to a growing number of productivity experts who have chased hard science and concluded switching between tasks wastes time and creates opportunities for more mistakes.

Improving your ability to listen will definitely be a better way to spend your time, but you may not know where to begin. Here are some steps to get you started from some of the experts.

1. Pay attention to how YOU communicate with your team during meetings. Are team members making eye contact and asking the right questions, or saying nothing at all?

An active listener doesn’t need to worry about feedback. They will get it.

2. Develop the fine skill of restating or paraphrasing what your team members have said to ensure you’re hearing everything. By doing so, they’ll recognize you’re really paying attention to them.

3. Give your team members a chance to explain a situation or a problem without interruption. Don’t try to speed up the process by completing your team member’s sentences or interrupting to explain the “real” problem. They’ll remember how you reacted and give you less information than you may really need down the road during future meetings.

4. Be open to new ideas, without judgment. Listening gives you a golden opportunity to learn something new. Embrace those occasions. Be mindful that you don’t have all of the solutions for a given problem.

5. Are you listening completely to what’s being said without filing in the gaps? If not, you’re probably making assumptions that may not be true.

Active listening can help you make better decisions about managing your facility and the people who help you do it. Following some or all of these simple steps will help you get there.

Look for more suggestions about better listening skills by subscribing to our Facebook and Twitter feeds that are frequently updated every week.

For more guidance on good leadership through better listening skills, contact Vanguard Resources.

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. Larry King