Listen Here!

by Mike “Q” Quaintance, MBA / Business & Hospitality Department Chair @ Keiser University – Fort Myers

The life of a manager is filled with disruptions throughout the day, which may cause stress. This stress can translate into poor interrelations with those that the manager supervises, as the manager may not present themselves in an empathetic way.  Thus, those being supervised may become less motivated because the manager is not meeting their needs.

As a manager, it is your job to create a sympathetic environment where everyone feels valued.  In contemporary management, we talk about follower job satisfaction, and one of the major components of that environment is the ability for the manager to engage in active-listening.  Consultants and academics justify this behavioral approach because employees often spend more of their awake time at work then at home.  Therefore, creating a more compassionate environment can improve job satisfaction and desired corporate social behaviors, where employees experience managers that value them and their contributions.  Below are a couple of suggestions to help create an empathetic environment in the workplace.

  • Observe, listen, and ask questions. Not only will managers and leaders gain information from employees, employees will perceive these activities as caring and compassionate behaviors.
  • Stop multitasking when an employee comes in to speak with you. Stop reading and writing e-mails, put down your cell phone, and give your full attention to the person in front of you.
  • Do not give into distractions, slow down, do not worry about deadlines. Listen to that person in front of you.
  • Practice mindfulness, and encourage employees to do the same when they are interacting with other team members.

Research shows that cultures which embrace transformational or servant leadership approach, which create empathetic environments, often have more satisfied employees that produce better outcomes.  This allows employees in dynamic industries to deal with stress in a much better way than in traditional work environments.