Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when someone just isn't listening. Whether personally or professionally, the feeling that your words are falling on deaf ears can be distressing. In the workplace, it can wreak havoc for a team's safety, productivity and cohesiveness. For managers of employees that 'just won't listen', it can be exhausting trying to determine the reasons why you can't seem to get through. Of course, there are many explanations and subsequently, many solutions to this issue. Here are 10 potential reasons why your employees just won't listen and some suggestions of how to make yourself heard more clearly.
No matter how well you feel you've given instructions, there's still a good chance that you're employees don't really comprehend what's being asked of them. Be concise with your staff by communicating instructions in a variety of ways and follow up to ensure clear understanding.
As a manager, often your training & experience will be greater than that of your team members. When offering directives, be sure that the language you use to communicate is not above the skill level of your team. If less experienced staff don't understand the terms, they're less likely to follow the instructions.
MUTUAL LISTENING HABITS
One of the key reasons employees tend to shut down when it comes to management is that they don't feel that their voices are being heard. Implement an 'open door' policy and reassure them that they're thoughts and ideas are valued. By practicing active listening, you lead by example.
In today's increasingly digital age, email and other online communication have taken precedence in the workplace. Directives via email can be easily missed and ignored by staff, so be aware that face-to-face communication is often far more effective.
No one likes to admit that something is beyond his or her skill level, especially when it's your job. If team members are struggling with a specific directive, it may very well be that they need more training or assistance and are embarrassed to request it. Be open in offering guidance wherever possible to avoid alienation.
LACK OF FOLLOW UP
Without adequate follow up procedures, you have no real way of understanding exactly why instructions are being ignored. Ask questions of your staff and again, practice active listening to be sure that they really are clear in their directives.
A 'BOSSY' BOSS
"Because I said so" is not a good enough reason to follow directions. Be conscious of your tone and how you speak to your staff. If they feel you're being condescending or power mongering, they're less likely to listen to anything you have to say.
When individuals feel undervalued, over time all their workplace habits can show the effects. Praise your teams in the areas they excel. This can give them the confidence and the reassurance that their contribution is recognized and new directives will be more readily accepted.
DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES
Respecting that employees have individual needs when it comes to training and work styles will help you communicate better. Consider using tools like TalentClick's WPP Assessment to better understand your employees' specific style and craft more effective approaches to reach them.
OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS
More experienced team members may demonstrate a natural deflection of new directives; they often have habits that are not easily changed. Empower senior employees by asking for their feedback when crafting new objectives and showing them how they can effectively carry them out.
Communication is non-negotiable in the workplace. Understanding that effective communication is a two-way street can completely change the productivity of a team. Take a look at your day-to-day tactics and consider that making small adjustments in some areas could vastly improve how well everyone hears you.