Talk Less, Listen More!
It is 7:30 AM on a Monday morning. You look around and see that everyone in your office has the Monday blues, or so you think. Bob from accounting has barely made eye contact with anyone, Sheila from HR looks ready to walk out of the front door. Everyone else seems to be barely alive, so it’s time to be motivational, right? “Pep up everyone, it’s not that bad!” you say, pouring a cup of coffee in the break room. For some reason, you are met with stony silence, even a few glares. What the heck is going on here?
“Solving problems means listening.” Richard Branson once said. It’s implied that you should talk less, listen more. Instead of trying to be motivational, it would be more appropriate in this situation to figure out what the problems are by asking questions. Listening is such a powerful tool, people who feel listened to are much more open to solving whatever issue is making them upset or unhappy.
You run into Sheila later that day and decide it’s time to find out why she is so unhappy. She tells you that she is feeling unsupported by her supervisor over an HR issue and simply cannot talk to them anymore about it. In fact, she has decided to start putting her resume out on the web so that she can find another company to work for. The problem here is that Sheila is feeling undervalued and dismissed which would make any employee upset! While you may or may not be able to solve her problem it will probably help her to verbalize her feelings. If she is open to suggestions, and here you really need to pay attention to her cues, you may even be able to help her brainstorm ways to solve her problem with this supervisor. In the process, you are sure to talk less, listen more.
The same thing could be done with Bob or any other employee at your company. Solving problems means you need to understand what the problem is. If you don’t listen to the problem then how can you even know what it is? So take into consideration that you need to listen in order to understand and solve whatever issues you may face. Talk less, listen more and be awed by the benefits you receive.