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By Erika Southey

Andromeda painted by Erika Southey

painting by Erika Southey

WE ALL have been guilty of listening to someone with the intention to just reply.

Some learnt a lesson; that by just replying doesn’t serve the bigger picture in the end.  They upped on their listening and response skills; which yielded desired results – even pleasant surprises.

The result of ‘just replying’; sometimes damages a relationship – even losing a company critical business.  The latter being the focus of this article.

Specifically in this day and age with its advanced technology and highly competitive environments; companies can ill afford to fall behind.

When a company finds themselves in the proverbial hot water or red; they call a consulting company in to highlight the ‘culprit’ responsible for a decline in revenue and even great key employees leaving to join the opposition.

In a few conversations over the years; the ‘listening’ component came up to be the deciding factor between increased profit or loss?  The second component was; that some employers suffocate employees who are innovative free-thinkers.  These, the ones with great and many ideas.  Some employers view their employees to be mere numbers and not individuals who are part of their synergy.

With the focus on Emotional Quotient (EQ) nowadays; some individuals in leadership or key roles hardly display the listening quality/requirement. They very often discourage subordinates or co-workers from pitching business or life-enhancing ideas.

Why aren’t people listening?  A few suggestions came up

  • Tunnel vision
  • Out of touch with what is happening on a global scale
  • Small mentality
  • Sheep mentality
  • Personal grudges
  • Personality incompatibilities
  • Language barrier

Can bad situations due to poor listening and response communication; be salvaged?  I think it can.

Change management is good.  It boils down to how it is implemented.

There just are some rules that simply cannot be bent; due to impact on company and employee safety.
However, the change; management wants to see starts with how it is filtered down and encouraged.

One size doesn’t fit all.  Departmental brainstorming – such as giving individuals the chance to bounce off ideas in a ‘creative idea’ environment – could yield more positive results and healthier people dynamics.
Listen – seek to understand the message being conveyed.
It will even draw out the quiet observer to add their 2 cents worth.

Like a group painting session – let each one add their particular ‘colour’ to the company/departmental ‘canvas’ in the way they best like to express themselves.

The final picture will say a lot about the company, department, leaders and finally the individual.  A good pool for Talent Management, retaining of talent and development.

A conclusion I drew from observing individuals and companies – it’s the idea chasers, the innovators who are thriving.  They listen, ask questions while going out on a limb with the idea-giver to try a suggestion.
They have no fear. They are willing to risk failure to find the next great invention.

So, you were saying ………….?