Are your staff listening?

Are your staff listening, or are you just background noise? 

I heard a very interesting tale recently of a mother who was genuinely concerned that her seven-year-old son had a hearing problem.

Despite having passed all his hearing tests as a baby and toddler, he appeared to no longer hear very much of what was being said to him; even the television seemed to be getting louder and louder and his parents’ requests that he turn it down were falling on deaf ears (pardon the pun!)

Visiting the doctor seemed a last resort, so instead the mother asked the boy’s teacher, at the regular parents’ evening, if her child seemed to have difficulty hearing.

“No, he hasn’t,” the teacher said. “If anything, he’s paying far more attention in class than before and his concentration has improved.”

So, if there was nothing wrong with the boy then the fault must lie with … the mother!

She analysed her behaviour to the child, and realised that instead of conversations with her son she was delivering little more than a constant stream of instructions and requests: get your shoes on, clean your teeth, turn the TV down, do your homework. Their communication had turned into a one-sided monologue which the boy had tuned out of.

This scenario is common in families and just as common in business. For true staff engagement and employment motivation, listening and communicating needs to be a two-way street.

If you think you’ve been doing little more than barking instructions at your staff, or you feel like your key messages have become background noise - then I can help. Please get in touch with me for a two-way chat - I am pretty good at listening too...

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