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The secrets of listening & reporting

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Every leader talks about “open and honest communication.” But what is it, really?

If you have any sense that your people need to be more forthcoming about what’s really going on in their areas, here’s how to open them up:
  1. Let them talk about their concerns. Squelch your own defensiveness and allow each person to speak without interrupting. Don’t generalize or try to come up with answers, reasons or solutions on the spot. Just take notes, and review them later for patterns and any form of consensus.

    Some questions to ask:

    • “How do you see your position in our organization?”

    • “What do you think about the working conditions/culture/climate?”

    • “What do you like/dislike about the organization?”

    • “What’s the biggest problem you see?”

    • “What scares you/ticks you off?”

  2. Share your feelings about what scares you, what angers you and what keeps you up at night. Explain what you want to accomplish.

  3. Tell how things look from your perspective. Your people are curious — more curious than you know — about what’s going on. Clue them in. Share the bad news along with the good.

    Think of yourself as a scout whose duty is to push forward, then quickly report back to the troops about what’s ahead.
To be happy, you have to like sharing what you’ve learned. Holding back is no fun.

—Adapted from The Great Game of Business, Jack Stack, Doubleday Currency.

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