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How to actively listen to your employees

As a manger, one of the key success factors you have available is your employees. When you actively listen to your employees, you can find out information that will help you succeed as well as the employees. So how can you make an effort to listen to your employees? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Get out of your office
How can you expect to know your employees if you never see them? If you sit behind a desk in an office all day, no one will even know you are there. Come out of your office and visit with your employees. Take a few minutes to walk around to their desks and ask them how they are doing, how they feel about their workload, and what you can do to help them. In just a few short minutes a day, you are showing your employees you are actively listening to them. This also makes you more approachable and you get your information first-hand.

Clear Instructions
By giving your employees clear instructions in the beginning, they are more responsive and less likely to become confused when working on a project. Give your employees guidance instead of instructions. This can help them with the project as they will feel open communication with you and can ask questions if needed.

Performance Evaluations
Conduct performance evaluations on each employee. Sit down with an employee every six months and discusses their performance. You can discuss goals with the employee for a period of time until their next performance evaluation. This is a great time to listen to the concerns of your employee and what their goals are with the company. Keep a record of the evaluation with a few personal notes so you can refer back to them before the next evaluation. Discuss with your employee how to you plan to make changes in the way certain procedures are handled and how they can help reduce the pressure from the employee.

Show empathy to your employees. If you notice a particular employee is having a bad day, call them into your office and talk to them. Allow them to "spill the beans" and help them find a resolution for their problem.

Take time to recognize your employee's hard efforts. If they work hard on a project for weeks and don't gain any recognition, their enthusiasm for their job will decline. You will find yourself struggling with employees on a daily basis if you don't take the time to show them that you appreciate their efforts. Reward good behavior or work performance when you see it, or soon after you see it. Try not to let hard work go unrecognized.

Try having a staff meeting where your employees can fill out anonymous surveys. You can get their feelings on how they are treated and what can be improved. Do they wish your management contributions were better? Would they like more input on decisions? Having this anonymous survey doesn't make the employee's feel pressure that they will have negative reaction taken for voicing their opinion.

Most companies would like to build an employment relationship. They want to do the right thing and have trust and respect go both ways. Being up front with your employees show them that you want what is best for them. Your employees will not feel betrayed when large decisions are made without the general office feeling about it. Taking the time to invest in the employment relationship will go a long way. Everyone will be excited to come to work in an environment where they feel valued. The trust and respect of your employees is such an accomplishment in building a successful company.

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