Listening may sound simple, but there’s more to it than most of us realize. It is a powerful tool that successful people are using to achieve success. If people understand how important it is to learn how to apply active listening, everyone will gain massive benefits.
The Usual Issue When It Comes To Listening
The world we live in requires us to communicate, and it can be done in various ways. However, communication is not always seamless. Some issues hamper the entire communication process. For instance, many people treat conversation as a competitive endeavour; the one who talks the most and the longest is the one who will win the discussion. Sadly, sometimes, the opinions of others are left unheard.
In the workplace, effective communication must be established. There are various issues between employers and employees that happen due to misunderstandings or a lack of communication. The employer may not be aware of some concerns from the employees, or the employees are not informed about new company policies.
Active listening can enrich relationships among people in the workplace. Not only that, but it can also promote productivity, boost mood, and eradicate conflict. It can also prevent any further problems from arising in the organization that may cause more significant conflicts.
When can you say that listening is effective? Listening means focusing on what it is being said without letting other ideas invade or interrupt the process.
Especially for entrepreneurs and business owners, active listening skills are a must for their day to day transactions. This is to ensure that daily tasks are done and foster harmonious relationships with their employees.
The Importance Of Communication In The Workplace
Communication plays a vital role in the daily lives of every individual. The art of conversation in the workplace is a rule that needs to be implemented and something that has to be mastered.
It is a fundamental factor in the workplace that contributes to employee engagement. Effective communication also means an efficient working team.
No matter what niche you are in, you are required to communicate in one way or another. Why? The way you communicate will have an undeniable impact on your efforts’ progress, productivity, and success. Just imagine how a company will succeed if nobody wants to communicate? It’s like hitting the arrowhead to a new target. Little will likely be achieved.
Common Issues In The Workplace Due to Poor Listening
Communication is, no doubt, a significant part of life. We work today in a competitive world where technology, teamwork, and other tools are available to promote efficiency. However, all these can become meaningless just because of poor communication.
If you have a deadline and nobody informs you, that can lead to a more significant issue. When an employee is under stress or having challenges with their work, it needs to be rendered to the authorities or the right people to take action. But when it wasn’t appropriately relayed, then the issue will worsen.
For an organization to thrive, goals must be met or exceeded to create solid relationships.
Poor communication can cause problems such as stress, low morale, dissatisfied clients, and more. Below are some of the common issues in the workplace caused by poor listening.
#1 Anxiety at Work
When there is a high level of stress in the workplace, poor communication may thrive. Anxiety at work can be a significant threat since it can create misunderstandings and low productivity.
For instance, when there is a deadline to meet, and nobody makes a follow-up with the task’s progress, productivity issues will arise. Employees will feel tensed, pressured, and they may be forced to overwork.
The fun aspect of working is removed, and it will lead to less productivity and results. Lack of communication often results in low stability and predictability. When tasks are done amid tension, the quality of the results would be less efficient.
Besides, employees may start feeling guilty due to conflicts and may lead them to feel less motivated. In short, the whole business and its process will be affected.
#2 Failure to Meet Goals and Expectations
When communication is vague and not given proper attention, then the set expectations will not be met. Without clear communication, the team will miss deadlines, and projects may not be accomplished in the given timeframe. Also, the task delegation may be affected and may confuse people about their specific appointments.
#3 Misunderstandings and Arguments
The right tone must be applied to any form of communication to be able to convey the message. For instance, you may open your inbox and then suddenly finds an email from your boss or a colleague. However, the email has an accusatory message.
How would you feel? You see, people can feel frustration, hurt, anger, and helplessness just because of communication that is not created and justified properly.
When this happens, your previous relationship with people in the company can be tarnished. Some employees choose to keep quiet and stop expressing their opinions. They often forget that a friendly conversation can be the solution to some problems in the organization.
Some communications need to be formal, and some are more casual. The employer and employees must understand what kind of communication must be used in a particular situation to avoid conflicts and other issues.
#4 Effects on Mental and Physical Health
When things are in conflict at home and work, unwanted consequences arise. Sadly, one of the results may include physical and mental problems. An employee may look physically stressed due to the conflicts in the organization. When no one cares to discuss the problem, the cycle will continue.
On the other hand, mental health issues may develop mainly because of stress. An employee can lack emotional strength. Lack of proper communication to build a strong relationship can lead to lowered self-esteem, poor decision-making, and lessened productivity.
#5 Low Morale
Intense emotions may pop up when there are conflicts in the communication process—low morale. Employees tend to become less motivated and dedicated to their jobs.
Productivity goes down, and working seems to be functioning only because things need to get done. Their mindset focused exclusively on workplace survival, which is not a sign of a healthy relationship.
#6 Clients may give the company a negative impression
No one can argue how important it is to have a good reputation. You always need to give your clients the best idea when it comes to qualitative work and communication. They prefer to be continually updated with their projects for any progress or issues.
However, when these are met, they can be frustrated and withdraw the trust they’ve given to the company. This can significantly affect the whole business deal with them. When your team misses deadlines or fails to satisfy clients, that would mean to cost the company’s name. Worse, you may lose the client, and future projects will be affected as well.
Improving Communication: It’s Possible and can be Highly Effective.
As mentioned before, poor communication can significantly impact deadlines, relationships in the workplace, morale, physical and mental health, and client’s trust. That's why it is crucial to maintain a good communication process. As an employee, he/she is entitled to knowing the project descriptions and all the tasks included within them.
Utilize the power of today’s tools and technologies, such as emails, phones, and project management tools to gain some professional ground. Treat each other in the workplace with kindness and respect. There must be open communication among people in the organization to handle workplace concerns and formulate the best solution when problems arise.
It will be fantastic to learn how active, effective communication can benefit you. All of these will be possible when active listening is done. No type of communication will work if active listening is not present.
Benefits of Active Listening (all will make you strive for better communication)
When all members of the organization become active listeners, the following benefits will be achievable.
#1 Stronger Relationships
According to some studies, when people listen to understand, they can create happier and better relationships. Open communication will help employees to voice out their concerns and share new ideas.
Employers can also send out important announcements and information to the company using effective forms of communication. In that way, all teams in the organization will be more likely to come up with better and fresh ideas and attract more clients for collaborative projects.
#2 Improves Productivity
Employees and employers need to listen as much as they need to talk. Active listening is one of the primary critical elements that need to be established in the workplace. When employers refuse to listen to their subordinates, then they might lose them.
On the other hand, when employees are heard, they feel more energized, become more focused and free from stress and distractions. Misunderstandings will also be avoided, giving everyone the fair share of showcasing their potentials and capabilities.
#3 Improves Workplace Performance
Active listening helps enhance workplace performance. When employees are comfortable with the level of communication in the organization, it will lead to positive results. They work with zest and engage in building harmonious relationships, among others. Their job performance will leverage success and will be noticeable.
#4 Self-Empowerment and Personal Benefits
There are various personal benefits active listening can bring. Aside from the fact that it can reduce stress, it also helps build confidence. When employees are allowed to express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings, they feel more secure and valued.
The confidence instilled in them creates positive feedback, and they become more open in developing and formulating new ideas that can help the company. Being heard is self-empowering.
#5 Avoids Interruptions and Distractions
Employees with poor listening skills will bring adverse effects when not adequately addressed. It can also ruin the relationship between them, the employers, and their colleagues.
When everyone listens and lets people talk, it will be easier for the members in the workplace to lessen interruptions and distractions. So, everyone will benefit from listening.. When a piece of specific information is conveyed effectively, then there will be no headaches for all.
#6 Presents a Caring Attitude
Listening shows a caring attitude.. Nowadays, it is a pacifying feeling when there is someone who can listen to our sentiments and frustrations.
Every burden seems to get lighter when there is someone who can give you advice, and you know they genuinely understand you. Every employee feels that they are in a safe working environment. They will be able to work more efficiently while building a more caring relationship with them.
#7 Assignments and Tasks Are Completed Faster
When the employers and employees listen to each other mutually tasks will be done efficiently.. When employers give the responsibilities to their subordinates with the right instructions and adjustments, they can be finished with the timeframe and with high quality.
Good listeners are also learners. They keep enhancing their listening skills to perform better at work and in life. Learn to ask a question when something is not well comprehended. Do not interrupt; let someone finish first talking before you share your thoughts.
Practice active listening with everyone, not only in the workplace but also with everyone around you. When you keep on doing this, you will be surprised at how rewarding it is to achieve progress and accomplishments.
Remember that no one has perfect communication skills, but with the proper mindset, anyone can do it.
It may seem impossible at first, but as with everything in life, if you practice it enough it will become a good habit to keep. Think of your brain as a muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it becomes and so will the good habits in your life.
Active listening is actually a great tool if you are anxious or if you feel like you are not that good with your words and expressing yourself. By actively listening to others you will not only learn how to communicate better, but you will also get to know yourself better and the people around you.