10 May Listening really can help you succeed at work
Being a “good listener” is something we’re trained to do from toddlerhood, but this valuable skill is too often overlooked in the work world. Demonstrating strong listening skills can set you apart from the competition, help you impress the higher-ups, improve your work performance and even help you stay safe on the job.
Listening makes bosses take note
Ask 10 bosses what makes a good employee, and nine will probably cite good communication skills as a top factor. A busy manager wants employees to listen to instructions the first time instead of interrupting the manager for repeats later on or, even worse, messing up their work because they missed crucial parts of their instructions.
Bosses also value listening skills when deciding which employees to retain and promote. If a manager has two employees who have similar skills, he’ll probably favor the worker who always listens to instructions and asks relevant follow-up questions over the worker who is competent but unfocused. Bosses also cite strong communication skills as one of the traits they most look for when choosing employees for management positions.
Listening makes you seem engaged
Have you ever found yourself talking to someone who is clearly more interested in watching their phone or playing a game than in what you’re saying? It doesn’t feel good to be ignored, and that’s true in the workplace as well as in your personal life. But when you make a point to attentively listen to what the receptionist, a coworker or a customer has to say, that person will walk away with a positive impression of you. And when people in your workplace like you, they’ll be more willing to do favors and help you out when necessary.
Listening helps you find solutions
In most workplaces, it pays to be proactive. Listening carefully can help you do your job better and sometimes even improve the operations of the entire workplace. Overhearing coworkers talk about their recent sales calls can help you gain some insight into what your company’s customers are looking for, and listening to your manager’s complaints about office inefficiencies can help you brainstorm and suggest solutions.
Listening keeps you safe
If you work around heavy machinery or potentially dangerous chemicals, listening is a key part of the way you can keep yourself and your coworkers safe. Paying attention to safety briefings, taking note of emergency procedures and listening for coworkers’ calls for help can position you to take action if necessary, and that keeps you safe to work another day.