Active listening makes all the difference to employee wellbeing

African American employer listening attentively to caucasian job applicant talking at work interview, being friendly and interested to candidate. Concept of recruiting, employment, hiring

How often do we listen to others, but don’t hear? Really listening is one of the hardest things for us to do. It takes time and energy. Instead, we drain ourselves of energy with our own internal voice. But listening is the key to transforming your organisation to be equipped to handle future challenges, and it’s is a skill that can be learnt.

In this article, Christine Steel outlines five listening strategies that can foster an environment of trust in the workplace, as well as transferrable tips on mastering the art of active listening.

How to build trust in the workplace by listening:

Here are five of the best listening strategies and ways to foster an environment of trust in the workplace.

  1. Listen non-judgementally

To listen without judging the person is so important. No one really knows what the other person has been through.

  1. Listen more than you speak

Your staff are unique individuals who have their own ideas and viewpoints. Ask them to share their thoughts and genuinely listen. This helps to build workplace relationships and trust.

  1. Ask for feedback and then listen

Regular team meetings can build insights as to how your team is progressing and noting any areas that need attention to stay on track.

Most importantly, if actions are decided upon, follow through with your action plan in a timely fashion. When staff see things happening in relation to their feedback, their trust in you will grow. Prompt responsiveness communicates trust, respect, and empathy to staff.

  1. Show appreciation every day

It is vital to provide your staff with frequent recognition in real time. Sending a thank you message, or a verbal praise. Staff having their work recognised and appreciated means more than anything.

  1. Listen to their plans to grow and encourage professional development and autonomy. 

This will build trust and improve employee engagement and performance.

These are all great pillars to build trust. Start listening and taking action to build trust with your staff today. Listen with genuine interest, with intention, curiosity, compassion, empathy, this will change your culture and strengthen your organisation for the better.

The Art of Active Listening

The art of Active listening is a helpful skill for any workplace environment, it helps you to focus attention on what is happening at hand, and it shows your willingness to problem solve. It also helps you to truly understand what people are saying in conversations and meetings.

Active listening helps you to build rapport that you would not normally do with some people. 

Building Active Listening Skills involves:

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  1. Paying attention to the conversation and not interrupting.
  • Stop being the fixer and just listen.
  • This helps to build trust and establish rapport.
  1. Taking the time to understand what the other person is saying.
  • Gathering relevant information. Always separate fact and opinion.
  • This demonstrates your concern.
  1. Taking steps to draw out details that might not otherwise be shared.
  • Like asking open ended questions and feeling finding questions to support the issues surrounding the conflict or the situation.
  • This shows you are trying to fully understand.
  1. Repeating back to the individual how you have interpreted what they have been saying.
  • Trying to understand their point of view.
  • This shows your commitment to understanding the situation.
  1. When active listening you need to observe body language.

Research tells us that nonverbal communication varies and many experts agree that 93% of all communication is nonverbal. This can be body language, facial expressions, tone of voice. Only 7% of communication takes place through the use of words.

What can also be very helpful is:

  • Asking specific questions to seek clarification.
  • Waiting to disclose your opinion, and
  • Disclosing similar experiences to show understanding.

The right kind of listening has the ability to build trust, mutual respect and improve lives for a better future for all.

Remember with mental health everyone is fighting an invisible battle and often behind the veil of “I’m ok.”

About the author

Christine Steel is Founder & CEO of Mind Health and Wellbeing Limited and Mobile Minds by Design Limited. She runs tailored masterclasses and workshops. As a mental health and wellbeing advocate Christine has also created a de-stress tool for everyone to use as a coping mechanism, providing a safe space to write out your thoughts, feelings and process your emotions, reducing anxiety and stress.

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