We have all witnessed those managers who come into the office day in and day out with no real plan for growing or learning any more than they already know. They basically arrive at work and just ‘wing it’ throughout the day reacting to whatever pops up. Well, if you want to be a successful and effective manager, then there are many things you must consider. But, in every case, you must know your management math; that is, you must know the science behind what can make you an effective manager. For this writing, I am proposing that one of the formulas for becoming an effective manager is EM = L > T.
Breaking it down, it simply means you can be a better effective manager if you listen (L) more than you talk (T). So, how well do you listen to others? Many of us think we’re great listeners, when in reality…we really suck at it. Early on in my management career, I developed the bad habit of interrupting my employees while they were trying to tell me something or I tried to finish their sentences for them. I thought I was listening to them, when I was really just trying to tell them how much I already knew. Thank goodness I had some great mentors around me to help me correct that habit.
Based on my experiences, I’ve drafted four styles of listening that may help you listen more intently before you begin to speak. So, take a look at these different ways you can listen to your employees, family members, customers and others:
- Discerned Listening – This is when you listen to gather information to consider at a future time. Don’t overlook important details of what’s being communicated to you. Learn how to recognize those valuable, key words in every conversation that will assist you in making detailed decisions later.
- Assessed Listening – This is when you listen to specific information being given to you for the purpose of making a decision. Be sure to listen to all the information before you begin to compare it to other facts or previous experiences. Don’t jump to conclusions before the person speaking to you has finished providing you with all of the information.
- Appreciated Listening – This is when you listen to simply absorb what’s happening around you. You don’t analyze or evaluate anything; you’re just taking it all in. Maybe it’s a family story, a concert, music or someone’s joke. You listen intently for the purpose of enjoyment.
- Concerned Listening – This is when you listen with such a passion to the concerns that others are communicating to you that your attention and body language create an emotional bond between you and the other person. You listen as if you are counseling or are expressing emphathy with the person.
I don’t believe we need to select or focus on just one style of listening, but that we should develop managerial skills in a way to know what style of listening should be utilized given the situation or person. Being sensitive to listen in different ways will make you a more effective manager and those around you will feel that you value what they have to say. Therefore, listening more than you talk is one great formula for becoming a better manager, a better friend and a better person. What can you do this week to become a better listener to those around you? Leave me a comment and take time to follow me on Twitter at @craigholloman .