How To Be a Good Manager – Listening Skills and Managing People

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There are numerous qualities that are the makeup of a good manager, but strong listening skills are defining when it comes to strong leadership, says Brian Macclesfield, CEO of Best Freelance SEO in London.

Most people have, at one time or another, been an employee and know what they look for from a qualified leader. Nothing proves more endearing, nor inspires more respect, than a manger with strong listening skills. Listening skills are a learned performance and with practice, can help anyone become an accomplished manager that portrays effective leadership..

An employee always responds more productively when he feels like he is truly being “heard” by his superiors. A strong manager will not only perfect the art of listening, but also acquire techniques that show others he is truly hearing what they have to say. According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing People, by Arthur R. Pell, the keys to good listening skills include:

Eliminate distractions – Preceding a lengthy discussion with an employee the manager should see to it that phone calls are held, papers are cleared from view all other distractions are removed. Receiving calls or glancing at paperwork are the two greatest offenses that display poor listening skills. If this cannot be accomplished in the managers office, move the discussion to a conference room or alternate location.

Appear Interested – Do not sit too comfortably. A slack posture or inattentive appearance gives the impression that the listener is only mildly interested in what the speaker has to say. When an employee is trying to make a point they will most likely subdue further discussion if they feel the management is only tolerating their attempt. So, sit up in the chair, lean forward a bit and proffer continued eye contact.

Remain active in the conversation – A strong listener asks questions. Inquiries should only be imposed though, when there is a pause in conversation.

Be an empathetic listener – managers need to show employees that they are able to put themselves in that persons shoes. Empathetic listeners not only hear what others are saying, they actually try to feel what they are feeling. Speakers will pick up on this and the affect is gratifying and induces continued revelations. Managers who practice this technique will learn more about their employees than with any other method.

Use silence to inspire information – when an employee stops speaking, wait 5 seconds, allowing them to emphasize their point. The additional information tends to be more revealing than the practiced dialect they originally intended.

Take notes – In an employee/employer meeting, rather impromptu or scheduled, a good listener and proficient manager will take notes. Jot down key words or phrases, keep records of quotes and figures as later these important facts can be elusive. The follow up to strong listening skills is as important as the initial conversation. If an employee sees that a manager remembers what they discussed, that employee will most likely be even more forthcoming in the future.

Keeping strong and open relations with employees is one of the most productive advantages a good manager can possess. In addition to becoming a proficient listener, managers with strength in this area will elicit advanced productivity, while ensuring the lines between manager and employee remain clearly defined. Managing people is a difficult position and learning how to be a good manager is an ongoing process. Seasoned managers make effective leadership appear effortless.