Listen, the Key to Engaging Others

6 months ago on linkedIn, Ayesha Habeeb asked, "What is the one thing you need to do to keep employees motivated and engaged?"

The one thing is Listen.

L = Lead by listening to employees and learning from them.

I = Invite employees to say their piece of the wisdom regarding improving their work process...and how to make the company great.

S = Stopping what you are doing so you can be attentive to them.

T = Taking notes on their ideas...and then taking action, doing something with what you heard.

E = Empowering them to implement the best ideas.

N = Never stop focusing on employees and what they need.

If you are a leader, you probably want to motivate people, to solve problems, and to better serve the customer. The key? Listen to your people.

Last week, on an episode of the TV show Undercover Boss, CEO Bryan Bedford of Frontier Airlines, demonstrated the power of listening as he spent a week inside his company's operation, listening to front-line employees. He got "down and dirty" while undercover, handling baggage, refreshing planes, cleaning toilets, and even emptying human waste. And at each station, he took time to listen to the employees that were supervising and training him.

Bedford said: "I learned that we’re not doing a particularly effective job as a management team communicating with our employees. There’s a lot of stuff that we’re broadcasting, but as a management team we’re not doing a particularly effective job of listening to them. And if we are listening to them, they don’t sense it. Realizing their belief that we’re not effective enough in our communications strategies, that was very concerning to me."

Listening is an act of leadership.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on October 21, 2010. For more tips on ways that effective communication can boost employee engagement, invite Terry to your organization to speak to your managers.


Scott McArthur said…
Nice article and a very helpful acronym. The basis for the efficacy of listening and why it is so powerful is underpinned by a couple of the key psychological conditions which, when met, encourage personal engagement. So, when a leader listens he is signaling that he is interested. If the listening is acted upon the employees feel safer in their roles therefore more engaged and ultimately more productive. Action that follows will naturally resonate with the employees who were listened to. This creates meaning for them in their roles and again, as a consequence, they become much more productive.
Terrence Seamon said…
Good points, Scott. Thanks and best wishes for a happy new year!

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