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Managing Employees

If You Want Your Employees to Hear What You Say, Try Listening

June 7, 2012

Do your CNC machine operators or others who report to you miss the point when you give them new information about their jobs, company policies, or customer issues? If so, perhaps you should take a look at your own communication skills. Fact is many of us make the mistake of talking at our employees, instead of talking with them. Too often we engage in simply dumping information, rather than having a conversation. As a result, the person we’re talking too may be overwhelmed with details and just tune us out.

Good workplace communication should be a conversation between you and the employee, not a monologue. If you want the employee to be engaged with your message, they need to feel that what they think is as important as what you tell them. With this in mind, look your employees in the eyes when you talk to them, and let them know you are interested in what they have to say. Don’t talk over the employee, but let them complete their thought before you respond. One of the worst habits busy managers fall into is not giving the employee their full attention. Taking phone calls, texting, or checking emails when having a “conversation” send the employee the message that you believe you’re too busy or too important to hear what they have to say 

If you’re discussing a problem with the employee, don’t jump to conclusions, assume the worker is in the wrong, or make judgmental statements. These tactics will simply shut down the communications and put the employee on the defensive. Instead, ask open-ended questions, encourage the employee to explain their position, and really listen to what they say with an open mind.

It’s also a good idea to periodically summarize the important points in the conversation and solicit agreement from the employee. This helps to insure that you are both on the same page and that you have listened and heard what the employee had to say.

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