9 tips for getting your team to listen to you

One of the keys to running a successful business is motivating those working for you to buy into the company’s culture in order to meet its goals and objectives. Whether you’re the owner, CEO, departmental manager or any other employee who has staff reporting to them, the way you communicate to your team is critical to those goals and objectives being met and exceeded. After all, you are only as good as your team, so making sure they’re focused on a common goal at all times is vital. For some people, inspiring others to work hard can be difficult. Communication must be delivered in a way that is truthful and honest to create a deeper, genuine connection between you and your employees. Speeches don’t need to be like Braveheart rousing his Scottish army for a war against the English, but they need to be motivating nonetheless. There are many ways for you to communicate effectively, and while they may not come naturally to you, with time and practice you’ll become much better. Here are nine ways you can ensure your team members are listening to you:

1. Be true to yourself

There is no point in trying to be someone else, your staff will smell the pretence a mile away. Be open and honest, share your thoughts, talk about the difficulties you are experiencing, and the strategies you’re using to overcome doubts. Be honest when you don’t know the answer, after all - nobody knows everything. Instead, solve the problem and share the answers at the next meeting. You got to where you are by overcoming hurdles along the way, so share these stories and inspire your staff to greatness. By developing a trusting relationship with each member of your staff, you will build loyalty within the whole team.

2. Understand who you are

If you don’t know who you are and what you stand for, how are your staff supposed to know what your company is all about? You can’t open up and be honest if you don’t know what your values are, or what motivates you to succeed. Take the time to define who you are, share this with your staff, and in return they will respond positively to your honesty.

3. Get some training.

Just like you should be there to provide opportunities for your staff to grow professionally, you should make sure you are constantly improving as well. It makes perfect sense for you to engage the services of a coach to train you to be a more inspiring leader. Alternatively, if you can’t afford a coach, or there isn’t someone available who can take you to the next level, study for yourself. Read books, surf the web, and talk to other business leaders about ways to become a better motivator.

4. Be interesting

Don’t just reel off facts and figures and expect your staff to be instantly inspired. Try and bring all discussions back to real life situations, or interesting stories. Personal stories are much more effective than cold facts, and your experiences will give greater meaning to the speech, and create a deeper connection between you and your staff.

5. Be prepared

It is one thing to speak from the heart and open up to your staff, but it’s something else to be prepared for the communication that may come back at you. Be prepared to listen intently to what your staff have to say, and answer from the heart. Engage with your staff in matters that are important to them, ask questions and provide information from your own personal experiences. It’s easy to spot a manager on autopilot, delivering an uninspiring speech or set of instructions without really engaging with their team members. If you’re not totally there with your staff, they won’t be there with you either.

6. Care about your staff.

By showing genuine care for your staff, they will work harder and be focused on exceeding your expectations, and feel good about it. Your staff are real people who will inevitably feel the stress and pressures of both their professional and personal environments. People manage these pressures in their own unique ways, and if you are there for them when they are experiencing difficulties, you will be rewarded with a dedicated and loyal employee.

7. Be Aware

It’s not only verbal cues that you need to be mindful of in the workplace. Non-verbal cues such as nods, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and other types of body language can be even more powerful than the spoken word. A non-verbal and understood communication between a manager and an employee can have a powerful and personal effect on the relationship. It shows you’re tuned into their needs and thoughts, and will enhance your presence among your staff.

8. Allow others to speak

Sometimes the best way to get people to listen to you is by listening to them first. If your staff member is talking, don’t interrupt. Show them the courtesy of hearing what they have to say, and encourage two-way communication. By really listening to what your employees have to say, you will earn their respect. Once you have their respect, you’ll be able to convey your messages to them far more easily, knowing there’s a greater chance that you’ll be heard.

9. Develop your staff.

Show that you care about their future by encouraging professional development. Provide training opportunities, mentors, books about success, networking events, and anything else that conveys that you care about where they are heading in their profession. Providing opportunities for your team members to refine and build their leadership skills will give them a chance to show what they can do, so that when opportunities arise for advancement, they are ready.  

Over to you…

They key to getting your staff to listen to you is making them feel something positive about you and your business. Cold, distant and unavailable managers will quickly alienate their staff, leading to a reduction in productivity. Empathetic, open and honest managers will inspire staff members and teams to work together in order to achieve common goals. Successful business owners and managers understand the importance of motivating their team to listen to them, and the flow of positive effects that can cause. Individually, every staff member may need to be inspired in subtly different ways. Some may need an arm around the shoulder and a quiet word in their ear, while others are inspired by more authoritative Churchillian-style speeches. Either way, it is your job to know how to inspire people, and be able to connect with them on a personal level. That is the only way you’ll be able to ensure every member of your team is listening to you.  

At Corporate Challenge Events, communication is a vital ingredient that we strive to develop amongst participants in all of our team building programs. If you would like to hear more about how our team building programs can enhance the communication amongst your team, contact us today to tailor a program for your needs.

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