Listening Up: Why Listening Is So Important as a Business Owner

business meetingOne of the most important responsibilities of a business is to make sure each employee feels valued. What’s the best way to do that? The web is full of advice on how to help your employees succeed as members of your business.

But where’s a good place to start?

By listening to your employees.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Except thinking honestly, many of us know that it really isn’t. There are so many things going through our minds during a work day that actually listening to a person talk doesn’t always happen. We hear half of it, or perhaps none of it at all.

Actively listening is something you can do every day. It doesn’t take research. It won’t take up your entire day. But it is a simple way to make your employees feel like they belong and are valued members of the group.

Specific things to listen for:

  • Complaints: Field your employees’ complaints. This is the best way to continually learn about your company and what needs fixing. By listening to complaints, your employees know that they can come to you with any questions or problems that they come across.
  • A job well done: Know what is going on in your business. Validate those who have gotten the job done well. A simple “nice job” can go a long way in letting your employees know that you care about their work and can see their progress (though of course, more substantive feedback is always recommended).
  • Recommendations: One of the easiest ways to make an employee feel valued is to let them make recommendations on how to further the business. Not every recommendation will lead to something new (and of course, make sure to look into the information given to you), but it’s a good way to generate ideas on how to better your business from within.
  • Their lives outside of the office: Remember that your employees are people, too. They have spouses, children, pets, and lives outside of work. Connecting with your employees on a personal level can make it easier for them to come to you with questions, concerns, and ideas.

Not only should you listen to your employees—you should also listen to your clients. Really listening to your clients can help establish yourself as the master of your business; when you know exactly what the clients want, you can easily deliver.

While listening—to both clients and employees—seems obvious, too often it goes ignored in the workplace and beyond. By listening to employees and others, you can help strengthen your team, and make your employees feel valued—a great way to strengthen your overall business. Listening won’t solve all your problems, but it’s certainly a great place to start.

Have any questions about anything we discussed today? Or, have something you’d like to add? Feel free to contact us via the contact page of our site, or on Twitter or LinkedIn. We’d love to hear from you.

photo credit: francisco_osorio via photopin cc