Active Listening When Managing A Team

Active Listening How-To Guide
  1. You get distracted
  • Show empathy: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes while you are talking to them. How would you feel? Do you understand what they’re going through? Connect emotionally with what is being discussed, instead of trying to process it logically.
  • Ask questions: Engage. The more questions you ask, the more focused you stay and the more details you acquire about what is being discussed.
  • Never interrupt: It is the most impolite thing and the most problematic in a communication as well. Let the other person fully complete their thoughts and then start answering. If you believe the other person needs to improve their communication and perhaps make it more concise, then deal with that in a feedback environment separately.
  • It’s ok to ask for some time: Telling someone “I can’t talk right now, I apologize, but my head is on something else, can we please discuss in a while?”, is not a bad thing. It shows self-awareness, respect, and confidence. If you are not in a mood because you are distracted, it is better to acknowledge it and reschedule than start a discussion that might lead to the other person feeling disrespected or undervalued.
  • Not every conversation is about feedback: The fact that someone is talking to you, does not necessarily mean that you need to answer something back. Sometimes, you just need to listen carefully, without expressing an opinion afterwards. People talk for many reasons: get something off their chest, give information, interact. Not sharing your thoughts can be a very active decision, instead of a passive behavior. Also, not everything needs to be addressed on the spot. If you don’t feel ready to give an answer because you need more time to actively process what you’ve listened to, you can always say: “I need some time to think about it and I will let you know how I see it”.

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