The Strategist

Four levels of attention to hear your employees

10/25/2019 - 10:30

Here’s an advice that will be useful to everyone: find the courage to ask questions and voice your true desires. Express your thoughts clearly to avoid misunderstandings. This alone can completely change your life.

Now let’s talk about the same, but with reference to leaders. People change, and sometimes it’s hard to understand why a previously inspired employee has now lost motivation or why a quiet employee suddenly became more active.
Often we prefer to guess, because deep inside we do not want to know the true answer. Honest communication can convince you that reality is much less problematic than you expected, and allow you to come up with a common solution. Another thing is also possible: you make assumptions out of arrogance, instead of entering into an open dialogue with the person. This mistake can be expensive.
4 levels of attention
In any conversation, it is important to remember that there are four levels of attention. They can be described as follows.
Cosmetic - when the listener is not actually included in the conversation, but, despite this, makes approving sounds: “yep”, “hmm”, etc.
Conversational - when there is a certain level of involvement in the conversation.
Active - when the listener asks questions and tries to investigate the problem more deeply. They can also rephrase and generalize ideas after the speaker.
Deep - includes an analysis of the language of non-verbal communication, repeated phrases or changes in intonation - all that can prompt the listener to ask in more detail on a specific topic.
The deeper your level of attention, the more new you will find out about your team.
You can find something deeply new about anything when you decide to ask directly, as facial expressions and gestures may not correspond to the spoken words. Even if you are afraid to hear the answer, it is always better to ask a question and listen with your ears and eyes.
Three more tips
1. Train attention a deeper level - both at work and beyond. Like any other skill, it can only be developed by practice.
2. Talk with the personnel entrusted to you. Even a topic that is not directly related to work helps to establish mutual understanding and trust, so when you need to talk about something really important, it will not look strained. (However, avoid excessive familiarity - it is important to stay professional).
3. If it becomes necessary to have a serious or difficult conversation, take care to do it in a neutral place, and not in your office, which is associated with the subordinate attributes of power.

Based on "Be a Great Manager - Now! The 2-in-1 Manager" by Audrey Tang

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