Last week our blog posts addressed key points in becoming a great employee, the type that employers are seeking out and value.

This week we will be looking at attributes that managers or employers possess to be considered great in the eyes of their employees.

One of the most common problems in the work place is communication issues, so we will begin with looking at how great managers/employers handle communication with their employees successfully.

1. Listen…listen… you know what they are saying?

Ask any employee, who states their manager/employer is awesome, why they think so and they will tell you that it is because they listen to them.  Hearing what people are saying is one thing, listening to what people are saying is another.  Active listening skills take time and training to achieve.

Three Stages of the Listening Process:

Receiving – We take in the message most notably through hearing and seeing. You listen as much with your sight as you do your sense of hearing. Your eyes help you read the nonverbal cues that play a part in how the speaker expresses his or herself.

Processing – This is done in your mind.  It involves analyzing, evaluating and trying to make sense out of what the speaker said, so you can answer appropriately. Most listening problems happen at this level, such as distraction, attention level or stress. When you are distracted you do not fully get the message, only bits and pieces. Processing requires concentration in order to happen.

Responding – This is when the speaker finds out if the listener understood them because they hear the response. If they were understood, then a connection and a bond occur. If not, you have a process breakdown, which causes stress and frustration on the part of the speaker.

What happens most often?

Most conversations are not speaker to listener. They end up being speaker to speaker. People talk at each other, reacting immediately to what was said, not listening. This results in little understanding because there is no real communication.

You can see how frustrating it is for employees when they work for someone who lacks active listening skills.  They never feel that they are heard and most likely they have not been.

Great managers/employers have mastered the active listening skill.  They take the time to gain understanding of what their employees are saying so they can respond appropriately to them.

When someone takes the time to really listen to us it makes us feel respected, cared for, satisfied and understood.  It is a positive experience and the results are better relationships, better quality of work, greater cooperation and less stress.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.  The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ~ Ralph Nichols