When you’re a good listener, you’re more likely to have stronger relationships with your team.

It’s also a great way to show your team emotional support.

Active listening vs normal listening

When we listen without active effort, we’re usually thinking about our response while the other person is still speaking.

This means we’re not fully concentrating on what they’re saying, as we’re thinking about our own experiences than listening to theirs.

Active listening is when you make a conscious effort to hear what the other person is saying and analyse what they’re trying to communicate.

When you actively listen, you concentrate a lot more on the person speaking.

This may make them feel appreciated and can help build stronger relationships.

Ways to actively listen

Let them know you’re listening

When your team member is speaking to you, don’t sit in silence with no expression.

Give them non-verbal cues so they know you’re listening.

You can:

  • maintain eye contact
  • use facial expressions
  • nod

You can also do things like:

  • ask questions to get more detail
  • ask them to clarify something you missed or didn’t understand

Withhold your judgement

You can affect the level of disclosure, if you offer your opinion or advice before they ask for it.

When you offer advice, it may signal to your team member that you want the conversation to end.

Give them space and don’t offer your opinion too early.

Give them space

Give them space to share everything they’re thinking and feeling.

Wait until they’re done speaking and ask them questions such as:

  • “Do you need help with a solution or just want to vent about the issues?”
  • “What can I do to help?”
  • “I’ve got some ideas on what might help, do you want me to share them with you?”