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Testing, Testing…is this thing on? Your Employees are Talking – Can You Hear Them?

According to a recent survey by Sideways 6, over 1/3 of employees feel as though their voice is not being heard by their boss.

That statistic lends credibility to the fact that nearly 70% of employees would either accept a new job opportunity if offered or are looking for a new job.
While there are multiple factors that can lead an employee to look elsewhere for work, becoming a more effective listener can help to reduce the amount of employee turnover. Ready to implement a plan emphasizing active listening?
What Does It Mean to Use Active Listening?
Listening is a fundamental function of success. It is not uncommon for someone to complain that someone may hear the words being said while not really listening.
In the workplace, one of the most common complaints by employees is that they aren’t heard. In fact, nearly 40% of employees report not feeling valued or appreciated.
Whether they are sharing strategic plans and ideas to push the company forward, are deliberating a problem that needs to be solved or are sharing personal information that may be affecting their work performance, employees have a lot to say. Can you hear them?
How Can You Demonstrate Active Listening?
1. Turn off your inner dialogue.
It is difficult to concentrate on what other are saying when you are listening to a silent litany of information. One of the most effective ways to ensure that you are actively listening to what others are saying is to focus on what is being said. Feel overwhelmed with the amount of “noise” inside your head? Schedule time for personal reflection, allowing you to easily turn off the inner dialogue when needed.
2. Listen more than you speak.
Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, said it this way: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” When it comes to active listening, listening before you speak is a prized skill. In active listening, the “listener” places more emphasis on understanding what is being said than making sure everyone knows their perspective.
Oftentimes, the listener is thinking about what to say once they have a chance to talk, rather than engaging with what is being said. To demonstrate effective listening, concentrate on the information being given to you.
3. Ask insightful questions.
Being engaged with the speaker is a clear indication of active listening. By asking questions that demonstrate your understanding of the topic, you are communicating that you value what the other person is saying.
How Does Active Listening Help Your Employees Be Better?
Active listening can not only improve relations between employees, it can build confidence between employees and employers.
Once employees are convinced that their voice is being heard, they become better communicators. Not only will they share their thoughts and ideas more readily, they will listen to what others have to say. Their listening can cultivate a workplace that is kinder, more team-oriented and more efficient.
Active listening helps develop empathy. By expressing your concern for what your employee is saying, you are communicating that you understand their frustration. As a result, they will encourage other employees to share their thoughts and ideas.
Active listening can help improve employee engagement.
Employees who feel valued and respected at work will develop a sense of loyalty to their employer. This can reduce employee turnover, increase productivity and improve the corporate culture of the workplace.
The adage, “You have two ears and one mouth, so you’ll listen twice as much as you speak,” rings true – for personal and professional relationships.
Ready to build stronger relationships through active listening?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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