Brief 

Leaders can develop a habit of active and deep listening when in meetings, during brainstorming sessions or when quelling conflicts by paraphrasing what others have said to ensure understanding and by refraining from judgment, writes Rick Brandon, president of Brandon Partners. “In order for listening to become part of corporate culture, it’s up to you as a manager to make it an everyday personally-owned commitment rather than an ‘out there’ HR strategy,” Brandon writes.

 

Insight

Companies are recognizing listening’s impact on retention, productivity, and culture by installing macro-organizational listening strategies.

Strategies include designating a chief listening officer, hiring listening consulting firms and employing organization-wide listening mechanisms like engagement surveys; pulse-taking during exit, onboarding, and post-merger interviews; crowdsourcing methods like suggestion boxes or polling on specific topics.

However, don’t ignore the pivotal role that you play as an individual manager. Your efforts are what weave listening into the fabric of the institution by ensuring that it’s not merely an annual or quarterly corporate event, but an ongoing management practice.

As a manager, you likely recognize the value of active listening as an essential sales and marketing external communication competency for surfacing customer needs, handling objections, and building trusting relationships and brand loyalty. But do you underestimate listening’s vital role in internal communication?

You surely understand how to actively listen: don’t interrupt, suspend judgment, ask open questions, paraphrase content as an accuracy check, and reflect emotions to convey empathy. But are you short-sighted about when and where you should be listening?

 

Everyday listening opportunities

A 2016 Deloitte report cautioned, “The biggest challenge for HR in leading engagement programs is shifting from a transactional, once-a-year mindset, to an ‘always on,’ continuous listening approach to monitoring engagement.”

In order for listening to become part of corporate culture, it’s up to you as a manager to make it an everyday personally-owned commitment rather than an “out there” HR strategy. Which of these listening tactics have you used, and what others can you implement as part of your management tool kit?

 

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