5 Listening Techniques That Will Make you a Better Manager

New managers think that it is up to them to dominate conversations with employees. Hence, most of them fail to listen, especially to the concerns and ideas of employees, leading to poor communication.

As Epictetus (Greek philosopher) famously said, “Nature has given men one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak”. Managers who invest the time and efforts necessary for improving their personal listening skills not only experience an improvement in their effectiveness, but also upgrade the quality of their relationships with their employees.

Here are 5 listening techniques to help you become a better manager:


  1. Clarifying

The purpose of clarifying is to get additional facts and to help you explore all sides of a problem. Clarifying reinforces your memory of the topic that was being discussed. Asking clarifying questions eliminates ambiguity and reduces the chances of any misunderstanding of what the listener has said. Try asking for specific examples to make sure that you are on the same page as the person who is speaking. Below are some examples of how to ask clarifying questions:


  1. “Do you mean to say that we will be given additional manpower for the coming year?”
  2. “Can you clarify what you mean by this?”

  1. Restating

The purpose of restating is to check for meaning and interpretation with the other person, show that you are listening and you understand what is being said. Paraphrasing what others have said helps you to check for the accuracy of your understanding. Below are some examples of how to ask restatement questions: 


  1. “I see, so you are suggesting to do that?”
  2. “If I understand correctly, this is what you plan to do…”

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  1. Encouraging

The purpose of encouraging statements is to show that you are interested in what the other person is saying and to encourage them to continue talking. Not only do you show your interest with your body language, such as nodding your head or leaning in, by using encouraging statements, you prompt others to elaborate more. Below are some examples of how to ask encouraging questions: 


  1. “Uh-huh”
  2. “Oh I see, that is very interesting”
  3. “I see where you are coming from”


  1. Reflecting

The purpose of reflecting is to show the person you know what he or she is talking about and it helps the person evaluate his or her feelings about the subject matter. Asking reflecting questions enhances the relationship between both parties as the elements of empathy and acceptance are likely to emerge as the speaker will go in-depth than simply responding on a surface or direct manner. Below are some examples of how to ask reflecting questions:


  1. “You felt that you wasn’t appraised fairly”
  2. “It must have been a stressful period for you”


  1. Summarizing

The purpose of summarizing is to ensure that you have absorbed the main points of the discussion and it serves as a platform for further discussion on new problems. Below are some examples of how to ask summarising questions: 


  1. “These are the key points that you have talked about earlier”
  2. “If my understanding is right, this is how you feel about the status quo”

    We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?
    Let us know in the comments and please share this post with a friend/colleague if you enjoyed it!


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