So, how do you, as a boss, respond when an unhappy employee spills the guts out to you? Do you stare vacantly into space because this conversation may wind up cutting into your lunch hour? Do you make solid, un-breaking eye contact, so much so that you make the employee even more nervous? Are you the boss who plays “Good cop/Bad cop” by alternating between nice and tough?
It’s really pretty simple. Listening is an art form, and there are two kinds of listening. There’s the kind of listening where the speaker just wants somebody to hear them out, and there’s the kind of listening where the speaker wants the listener to help them solve a problem. If your employee is grousing to you about how the 49’ers blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter and cost him a big fantasy football payday, it’s pretty much just the “crying on the shoulder” type. But if she is dreadfully upset with her job, her lack of advancement, her place in the company and the complete absence of any type of overarching goal to work toward, she probably wants your help, since you are in a higher pay-grade.
At the Pro Football Way, we’re big on both active and passive listening, and on being tuned in well enough to know which to use in any situation. And let’s face it… anybody with kids has had to become a master of both techniques.
Corporate culture and team-building start with everybody understanding each other – being on the same page. And a listen goes a long way.