When was the last time someone spoke their heart out to you?
Are you characterized in your organization/company only for passing orders, giving deadlines or getting the work done?
Is your organization constantly facing poor feedback on employee engagement?
And finally, are you aware that empathizing and/or providing much needed motivation to your team, could be as simple as a tried and tested way of emphatic listening?
To get more insights into this, get down to reading the article below; comment if you agree or disagree; constructive criticism/feedback and unbiased opinions are most welcome.
Prof. SAK's top line:
Almost half of 'effective communication' is actually listening and not speaking or conversing !!!
It is a well known fact that most employees do not leave their company; they leave their bosses. An encouraging senior/mentor surely makes a great team work to their best potential.
And while we have so many theories about motivational speaking, pep talks, brainstorming sessions, etc. I feel deep down the management cycle, the senior managers have forgotten one basic communication principle: "Listening"
So what stops any line manager or supervisor, for that matter, any CEO to be a motivational 'listener' ?
There could be many answers to this.
The fact of the matter is as the designation grows in size and stature the onus is on delegation of work and getting the work done.
Due to this, invariably, most of the senior management in the name of 'open door' culture and policy 'creatively assume' that they listen to their employees, or as the cliche goes:
"We have an open door policy, anyone can walk in and share their thoughts, and we work on bottom up approach not top down approach !!"
Whenever, you, as employees, hear this sweet talk, welcome yourself to a 'fool's paradise'.
What's the point of sharing your feedback/thoughts and knowing well that it goes under the shelf?
Is the company accountable regularly to their employee feedback/issues?
If yes, can any company quantify this accountability?
Most of the strategic level management fall prey to these 2 diseases:
1) Selective Amnesia 2) Creative assumptions
And the best part is, no company would ever admit that we are prey to this.
These diseases occur when the management selectively and under their own criteria list out the issues faced by employees, which they feel are genuine, but nobody has paid heed to the fact that they are obsolete for the employees.
Its nothing but a case of 'wishful thinking' by the strategic level to solve issues at the operational or tactical level, i.e. mostly at the operational level.
In a nutshell: "I feel/assume this is your problem, I give you this solution."
The solution lies at the 'operational level' even for the biggest of issues.
And a unique way of getting over this without playing office politics (if the company genuinely needs to find a 'solution' to the issue) is 'Motivational Listening'.
According to me, Motivational Listening, much like speaking is not just an activity or an expression of interest. It is an emotion.
The 'Friday Heart-Out' theory
Organize a 'Friday Heart - Out' session and encourage your employees to be a part of this informal session, where the managers DO NOT speak at all, and all the activity (i.e. organizing, planning, speaking, listing out issues) is done by the operational level employees.
In short, the 'Friday Heart Outs' make the atmosphere Topsy-turvy.
And during this session, only the operational level staff speaks, no one else.
You cannot imagine how empowered and strong your employees would feel.
The 'drop-box' theory
Okay, if method 1 is too mainstream or tried and tested for you, and it has not worked in your company's scheme of things, then try this small effective activity:
Place a drop-box close to the reception and ask all operational level employees to put in their suggestions on: How should the company organize a party for their upcoming quarterly meet? What are your ideas/suggestions on evening hangouts and/or quarterly outbound trips?
So, in short, the management is asking the employees to suggest innovative ways of partying?
And do not forget, whichever employee's suggestion/idea is finalized and implemented, make that employee the 'showstopper' or the star of that party giving him/her all the due credit and adulation for thinking of a unique idea.
Yes, as dud or lose as it might sound, just try this one. It helps get the best and most cost effective solutions out of the hat.
And your employees feel motivated as you have implemented one of the ideas that are put in the drop-box.
There is no such impetus or quantifiable output which can justify how much value and insights an organization can gain by doing such 'out of the box' activities. But, there is certainly no harm in trying out and getting a feel.
As such, the company should be more concerned in the thinking pattern of their crucial employees rather than their output or performance. If their thinking pattern and dedication is taken care of, then the output and productivity is guaranteed for a longer duration; it does enhance employee productivity.
Prof. SAK's bottom line:
"Employees work with machines, they are not machines and they can speak.
Hence, listen to them and let them work for you as a 'Human Resource' in the true sense of the term !!!!"