Active listening is an essential skill for an IT leader. Your ability to communicate effectively and show empathy impacts your team’s success.
Focusing on what your employees say and understanding their points of view help you make decisions and resolve issues. These actions build trust, respect, and collaboration among your team.
Practicing communication and empathy with your team increases employee engagement, performance, and productivity. These actions elevate job satisfaction, employee morale, and attraction and retention rates. The results strengthen your bottom line.
Engage in the following behaviors to practice active listening and empathy as an IT leader.
Recognize Verbal and Nonverbal Cues
Pay attention to your employee’s tone, facial expressions, and other body language. These cues provide insight into how your employee may be feeling.
Keep in mind these emotions might not be verbally expressed. Or, your employee could say they are fine when they are not.
Focus on what your employee is and is not saying. Acknowledge what they are saying and how they are feeling. Ask follow-up questions to uncover more information.
For instance, “Thank you for sharing you feel about this situation. Would you share a bit more about your thoughts? I would like to hear more about your perspective.”
Process Verbal and Nonverbal Information
Work to understand the messages you receive from your employee. Also, keep track of the points made during the conversation.
For instance, “Here are some key points and areas of agreement and disagreement from our conversation. Here are more pieces of information to gather and suggested next steps. What do you think?”
Share Appropriate Responses
Use the information you gathered to reply to your employee. Include verbal acknowledgments, clarifying questions, or paraphrasing to show you were actively listening.
For instance, maintain appropriate eye contact, facial expressions, and body language while responding. Also, nod your head and use acknowledging phrases such as “That is a great point.”
Follow Up on the Conversation
Use your behaviors to show you were listening during the discussion. For instance, you might implement constructive feedback your employee provided. Or, you could talk about why you made another decision.
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