We typically take in only about half of what we hear and forget roughly half of that the next day according to Business2Community. That means if you aren’t working extra hard to absorb information you could lose 75% of the information overnight. If one of your employees gives you a great idea but you weren’t listening quite closely enough and forget it, you could have a huge problem on your hands.
In a study by John Izzo, author of “Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything,” the number one reason employees don’t take more initiative at work is because no one listens to their opinions when making decisions. And without employees taking initiative, it’s going to be a lot harder to get work done.
While it is important for employees to listen to you, their employer, and value your opinion so that they know the reason behind each decision, it is equally important for you to value their opinions and let them know that you remember them.
To get your employees to start talking to you about their feelings on a decision, get them engaged and let them talk. Inc.com says one of the best ways to get people to talk to you is to keep your mouth shut for a few moments. Some people may initially be a little shy to give their opinion and as an employer you want to show them that you do care about what they have to say and are interested in their ideas.
You will want to engage in what Larry Allan Nadig, PH.D. of clinical psychology calls active or reflective listening. Show genuine interest in what the speaker is saying while checking their understanding of the information by asking questions and restating and rephrasing items to be certain of clarification. Then take what you have heard from employees and coworkers into consideration while making a decision.
Give credit where it is due and thank everyone for helping with the decision making process, acknowledging if you couldn’t meet all of their wants and needs. According to the Izzo survey, 26% of employees were upset with not getting rewarded or recognized for good ideas.
Everyone wants to be heard, whether they are an entry-level employee or a high-end executive. Be an active listener and engage with whoever you are speaking with. Try to retain as much information as possible, and show people you care by remembering what they have said. As a result, your employees will start taking initiative and feel like they have an employer who cares.