What New Managers Should Do When Employees Won’t Listen

What New Managers Should Do When Employees Won't Listen
Luisteren / listening” by Sebastiaan ter Burg, licensed under CC 2.0

When trying to figure out how to lead employees who don’t listen, use the four parts of leadership framework:

Self – Improve or modify your communication skills. You can increase the chances that people are willing to listen to you by making it easier for people to understand you.

In most workplaces where efficiency and effectiveness are important, you want to keep things short and sweet. Hone your self-awareness and your ability to receive feedback so that you are able to become a better communicator for the specific people you wish to lead.

People will listen to you better if you are likeable or if you are catering to their interests and their needs. Both probably require you to be a great listener. Figure out how people want to be communicated to, and the kind of language they are comfortable with.

People – Develop your employees’ ability and/or willingness to listen. You might have to develop your employees’ listening skills in order to improve their listening capability.

You could also try to understand how their feelings about themselves or about you can reduce their willingness to listen. For instance, if you tend not to listen to them, they are less likely to want to listen to you.

Situations – Ensure the environment is ripe for listening. The more power you have, the more of an expert you are in the subject you are discussing, and the more urgently or importantly people require your knowledge, people are more willing to listen.

In other cases, you might realize that people are unable to listen to you because they are just too busy with other things and they simply have no time. This begs the question of whether or not you are saying things that are important in the big scheme of things!

Also, people won’t listen to you if what you’re saying contradicts what they believe in or what they were told by someone with more expertise or authority.

Outcomes – People are more likely to listen to important things. Above all, people are more likely to listen to things they think are important. If you’re failing to get your employees’ undivided attention, it may be because they feel that there is nothing to be gained by listening to you.

The onus is on you to begin with an idea of why what you say is important. According to Simon Sinek, a famous motivational speaker, author, and consultant, it’s always important to start with “why”.


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