Today’s Top Global Business Leaders Need Strong Listening Skills

An executive spends most of his time listening, yet it’s the thing he’s least qualified to do. According to a senior level San Jose Chinese translator, executives and managers ought to spend most of their communication time listening; yet many listen poorly. Take the case of America’s auto industry. Rather than listen to what experts were saying about energy shortages, Detroit continued to build its gas guzzlers. Even after the 1973 energy crisis, auto makers failed to listen to what consumers wanted: more economical cars. And when the government tried forcing the industry to listen, the industry lobbied intensively against the need for mileage ratings.  The Americans never did listen; they woke up, finally, to find that Japanese auto makers had cornered 20 percent of the market.

Knowledge gained from listening often can be turned to profit. As one translator with a Philadelphia translation services company suggested, “A client may have an idea for improving a product or service; a manager may suggest ways of increasing employee morale; an employee might suggest ways to increase production. But unless someone is willing to listen, the ideas are lost and so are the benefits.”

A global organization’s success largely depends on its managers. And global managers spend most of their time communicating with employees, usually one-to-one or through the use of an Indianapolis translation company. A look at current managerial objectives illustrates the need for managers who listen well.

Effective managers should

l. raise the level of employee morale

2. increase the readiness of employees to accept change

3. develop teamwork

4 . further the individual development of employees

These objectives coincide with Douglas McGregor’s Theory Y, the management theory centering on supportive, participative management (in contrast to Theory X: authoritative command). According to McGregor’s hypothesis, workers want their company to succeed. They want to work and take pride in their accomplishments. But for Theory Y to work, managers must talk less and listen more.

Deciphering, Accepting And Storing Messages

In the previous blog entry, listening was defined as a complex and selective process of receiving, focusing, deciphering, accepting, and storing what we hear. In that entry we described the focusing and receiving processes.  In this section, we discuss the deciphering, accepting and storing processes.

Deciphering refers to the decoding and assigning of meaning to specific stimuli. The mother responding to her crying child tries to decipher why her baby is crying. The bird watcher deciphers the bird’s call to learn the bird’s habits. But as Indianapolis Translation workers suggest, even with effort, deciphering isn’t always possible. The mother may not identify the reason for her child’s crying. The bird watcher may not interpret the bird’s actions. Similarly, if you don’t understand another person’s language, no matter how clearly you receive and focus on the message, you will not decipher it.

Deciphering also becomes difficult when two people assign different meanings to the same stimulus. Even a machine as clearly defined as a computer can cause problems. For some business people, “computer” suggests a time-saving addition to their office. But others hearing the word might feel threatened, believing they might lose their jobs to the computer. The decoding process has yielded opposing meanings.

To accept is to interpret the message as the speaker intended it. We don’t have to agree with the message, but we should interpret it accurately. For instance, Portland Translation workers suggest that biases or emotional blocks can cause message distortion. We either reject the message or filter it through our own view. That’s why debates on politics, religion, or matters of taste rarely are resolved. We don’t accept. We censor and select only what we want to hear, rather than listening to the whole message.

Storing means placing the deciphered and accepted message in our memories for later recall. Many Seattle Translation workers believe that because upbringing and culture are important to listening and learning, memory also plays a significant role in what we decide to focus on and how we decipher it.

In sum, listening doesn’t occur unless we integrate five distinct and often instantaneous processes: receiving, focusing, deciphering, accepting, and storing.