How Listening Can Improve Office Culture
A common point of conversation among business experts is how important a good manager or boss is in the success of a company. Without this key person to lead the team in the right direction, chaos is sure to ensue as employees struggle to keep some semblance of order in the workplace. On the flip side of this, though, is the manager or boss who has become a dictator. This person doesn’t allow his/her employees to work freely, which causes friction in business relations and office culture. In both situations, active listening can be the catalyst to move the team in the right direction.
Here are four ways listening is key to a successful work environment.
- You’ll better understand your employees’ needs.
By listening to your team’s ideas, without your personal agenda in the mix, you’ll be able to understand what everyone wants and needs. Are your team members morning people who like getting to the office at 8 a.m., or are they late risers who wouldn’t mind a 10 a.m. start time? Do some of your team members work more efficiently under specific conditions? Intentionally listening to the wants and needs of those most important to your business can help improve office culture, create more efficient workflow, and boost overall sales. Be careful here not to be too relaxed, though. Some sort of structure and rules still need to be implemented to make sure everyone is contributing their fair share to the process.
- You’ll make your employees and stakeholders feel heard.
When people believe their voices are being heard, it makes them more committed to the mission at hand; everybody wants to feel valued on some level in the workplace. Even if you never use a single idea from your staff or board members, they’re more likely to feel better about the decisions being made because they know their idea was considered in the process. Show your team you care by being open to listening to new ideas.
- You’ll gain a better understanding of what’s really going on in your organization.
Sometimes the only way to get insight into the nitty-gritty of your company is to sit back and focus on the small details that often get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the workweek. The higher up you are in your organization, the more important it is to look at your business through a magnifying glass from time to time. Managers and CEOs are pulled from one task to another so often, they rarely have the time to sit back and evaluate what’s really going on behind the scenes in the office. Is one department more efficient than another? What ways can you change things up for a better office environment for everyone?
- You’ll have access to new ideas and perspectives.
Some of the best ideas and viewpoints come from the places you least expect them. This is why it’s so important to listen to those around you, no matter what their job title is. You never know; the intern or the woman in the mailroom may just have the best idea for your next product line, and you would never know because you didn’t take the time to listen to them. It takes all types to make the world go ‘round, and the same can be said about business. Each person has particular skill sets and knowledge that can be helpful to the next person. Don’t be afraid to listen to new ideas and garner a new perspective on business. The way things have always been done is sometimes not the best way to move forward.
Although it can be tricky to loosen the reins you have in your business, it’s imperative you relinquish some responsibility and trust the people you hired to get the job done the right way. With everyone actively listening and valuing one another’s input, your company will be able to experience remarkable productivity and a positive office culture.
How can active listening benefit you, your team, and your business?