Management By Listening

Photo via Flickr by Leonard John Matthews


Your entire job as a manager is to listen. Your entire job.

The reason you listen is to find out what is really going on, sufficiently that you can repeat it back as if you were expressing those very same sentiments.

The purpose of listening is not to solve problems other people can solve. 

The purpose of listening is not to do therapy. 

It's not a schmooze-fest.

Managers listen to improve productivity. Where are people wasting time, or duplicating effort? Why are they working that way, when there is another way so much easier? 

Why are they taking those assignments, when they're outside of scope?

What is happening at all those theater-stadium meetings, that take up so much of everyone's time?

Who is feeling frustrated, disempowered, blocked from doing what you're paying them to do?

What are the interpersonal conflicts?

People, and relationships, are not a small thing at work. They are huge.

You listen to improve the quality of relationships on the team.

You listen to monitor and improve employee satisfaction.

Listening is a big job. You cannot rely on what limited sources tell you. You cannot rely on email. You cannot rely on the people who make you feel most comfortable.

Yes, it is true that your job has other components. Decision-making. Trend-scanning. Strategy-setting. Project work. Administrivia.

But your job as a manager has only one key performance indicator: the quantity and quality of your listening skills.

Which you then reflect back to staff, colleagues, boss, and customers inside and outside the enterprise.

And leverage for exponentially better results than anyone ever thought possible.

Which, in the big picture, is what your job is all about.

* All opinions my own.




About

Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.