Friday, March 22, 2013

Lean Quote: Listening is a Vital Skill for Managers

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"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

It is important to be able to communicate clearly, to be able to convey information to others. As managers, we have to do this throughout the day. However, it is equally important to be able to receive information - from your employees as well as your superiors.

Here are 8 listening tips
  •  Take notes – They aid retention.
  •  Listen now, report later – Plan to tell someone what you heard.
  •  Learn to want to listen – You must have desire, interest, self-discipline, and concentration to be a quality listener.
  •  Be present – Watch the tendency to daydream.
  •  Become a “whole-body” listener – Listen with your ears, your eyes, your heart, your intuition and your mind.
  •  Build rapport – By pacing the speaker. Approximate the speaker’s gestures, expressions and voice patterns to create comfortable communication.
  •  Control your emotional “hot-buttons” – Knowing what makes you react emotionally is your key to preventive maintenance.
  •  Control distractions – Controlling internal and external distractions helps you manage your working environment more effectively.
Listen with your full attention directed toward understanding what your coworker or staff member needs from you. Many managers, especially, are so used to helping people solve problems that their first course of action is to begin brainstorming solutions and giving advice. Maybe the employee just needs a listening ear. Your best approach is to listen deeply, ask questions for clarification to make sure you understand the situation and then, only then, ask the person what they would like from you. Trust me. They usually know, and often, they breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Thanks for listening.”


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1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim
    Thanks for the quote and short overview upon importance of listening.
    It seems to be so easy to listen to someone and yet a lot of people ignore these basic rules/tips… I’d say in some cases one word is missing from the quote: somewhere in between “understand” and “listen” – don’t forget to be silent (not to say shut-up). Otherwise none of the 8 tips will work, yah

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