The Importance of Listening Even in a Reactive Environment

As managers we often get wrapped up in telling people what to do and how to do it. This is especially true when you work in a reactive environment and time is of the essence.

Although delegation definitely serves its purpose, if this technique is overused, we can often create a team of robots, or worse still, the intelligent and creative bunch become disengaged. This can lead to frustration, gossip and ultimately a toxic culture. And we all know when this happens it affects the bottom line!

A tip to keep your teams thinking, to be accountable and engaged, even when you’re busy, is to try not solve their problem for them (unless, of course, it is out of their control).

Listen to what they are saying and ask yourself these questions?

 Are they capable of working this out themselves?

 Are they just looking for reassurance?

 Are they in panic mode and need assistance in rationalising?

 Or is there a training gap and they genuinely need to be told the answer?

When we understand the reasoning behind their question and also establishing further details about the issue, we turn it back on them by asking them open questions such as ‘how would you like to deal with the situation?’

This really needs to come from a place of trust and not judgement. Your teams need to be reassured that whatever decision they make it will be backed by you.

Sometimes its hard as we often believe if we can prevent error, we will. And we can do so by just telling them the answer. In the long run this only slows down our process and our teams don’t grow.

I support managers with overcoming this obstacle (along with many others) and help them create better habits to build growth minded cultures. Contact me if you believe this something I can help you with.

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