Being a good boss is always the way to get the best out of your team.  This becomes more, not less, important during a recession when every resource available to you counts.  Even if you have to let people go, there is a right and wrong way to do it.  We have suggested 10 ways in which you can be a great boss. Listening is an important part of recognizing people and their contribution and making them feel part of your team.

To enhance your listening skills, you need to make sure the other person knows that you are listening to what he or she is saying.  lf if you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying – you will know how important this is. You begin to wonder if your message is getting across, or if it’s even worthwhile continuing the conversation.  It make you feel the other person doesn’t put much value on you and what you have to say.

You can acknowledge what someone is saying just with  a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.  You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention.  They help you to concentrate on what they are telling you and help you understand the real message.   Try to respond in a way that encourages the other person to continue speaking, That way you can get the information you need.   An occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message, as well as clarifying for you.

Here are five ways to improve your listening skills and to reassure the other person that you are really hearing them!

  1. Concentrate
    Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message.  Look at the speaker directly and concentrate on what they are saying with an open mind.  Don’t let yourself be distracted by anyone or anything else.
  2. Use your body language
    Use gestures to show you are listening.  Nod, smile and use the appropriate facial expressions. Make sure your posture is open and inviting and make small verbal comments – yes, no and even uh huh!
  3. Give feedback.
    Our own prejudices and preconceptions can interfere with what we hear.   So reflect as you listen and then play back to the person what you think they just said – “ It sound like what you saying is”– followed by a short summary .  Or ask a question for clarification – “Is this what you mean..?”  Summarizing back to ensure you understood correctly reassures the person that you really are interested and listening
  4. Hold back on judgment.
    Don’t interrupt, its frustrating as well as discourteous – it wastes your time and theirs,  Let them finish – don’t role out counterarguments until you are absolutely sure they are appropriate.  Let the speaker finish their point first and make sure you understand it properly – concentrate on the speaker, not your self
  5. Treat the person and their message with respect
    Act with respect and understanding. The speaker is giving you a gift  – you are gaining information and perspective.  Be grateful – you may wish to dispute their argument but do it with respect.  Do not attack the speaker.  Be candid but constructive in your response

Above all treat the other person as you would wish to be treated!

Try the approach and then let us know if it worked for you!


  1. Excellent post. I like the way you highlight the importance of listening and the importance of showing the other person that you’re listening. Taking notes is another technique that works for some people.

    1. Thanks Wally, yes I think taking notes can help – so long as you explain to the person you are speaking to why you are taking them!

  2. Pingback: GETTING ON WITH OTHER PEOPLE – 8 WAYS TO UMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL SKILLS « Wisewolf Talking – resources for those managing or going through change!
  3. Pingback: THE DELICATE ART OF GIVING BAD NEWS « Wisewolf Talking – resources for those managing or going through change!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *