Listening Guidelines For Global Managers

The following listening guidelines were prepared by a Cincinnati translation services worker and will help you become a more effective manager:

1. Accept criticism: We sometimes implement “brilliant” policies. Others don’t see the brilliance, only the problems. Listen to employee criticism with an open mind. Employee feedback might lead to a truly “brilliant” policy.

2. Be physically attentive. Don’t say you want feedback and then give the opposite impression by opening mail, checking the latest stock market quotes, or looking over your latest computer printouts while someone is talking. Instead, take the advice of a Chinese translator in Chicago and give the person your attention by giving appropriate verbal and nonverbal feedback. This might include leaning slightly toward the person, keeping eye contact, and listening in a comfortable, stress-free place.

3. Watch nonverbal communication. Scientists studying nonverbal communication (kinesics) claim that about half a person’s communication is nonverbal. So watch for signs of stress, lack of eye contact, discomfort, tone of voice – whatever might give you clues as to what the person is really saying. Being physically attentive obviously aids in deciphering nonverbal communication.

4. Listen for what’s not said. How often have you talked with someone and “beat around the bush”? For some reason, you can’t say exactly what’s on your mind. This often happens when employees try talking with their boss. As one Cleveland translation services manager worker explains, until your employees can trust you to listen with an open mind, you have to listen for what’s not said. Or as some managers put it, “Listen between the lines.”

5. Consider the other person’s emotions and background. Some people’s behavior, background, and motivations are so different from ours that we tend to ignore their perceptions. Learn to suppress, or better yet, eliminate, such biases. Listen to their point of view. You might learn something.

6 . Don’t be manipulative. The manager who listens succeeds- unless employees or customers believe the listening is manipulative, a ploy to take advantage or manipulate them. This form of dishonesty will backfire fast.

Give positive feedback by showing that listening is a tool that helps everyone, not just managers. So give credit where it belongs. If someone comes up with an excellent idea, don’t take the credit. If someone comes with a problem, don’t just listen and then use what you’ve heard as a good topic for conversation (and laughs) at the next manager’s meeting. And don’t fake listening to placate people.

As a manager who listens, you can meet your objectives for employee motivation, morale, teamwork, and readiness to accept change by listening. Listening allows everyone into the process of creating an enjoyable, productive, and successful work environment. Just remember the words of Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. President): “Nobody ever listened himself out of a job.”

Some historians claim “Silent Cal” listened himself right into the White House.

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