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The Power of Listening for a Psychologically Safe Workplace

In recent discussions I’ve had with several teams, a recurring theme has emerged: human-centered leadership. It's a concept that's sparking interest and reshaping our understanding of what it means to lead teams, people and organizations.

 

What the numbers say

 

A Gallup workplace study reveals some concerning statistics:

  • 60% of employees globally feel emotionally detached at work.

  • Only 33% are truly engaged in their roles.

  • 40% do not feel they are thriving.

 

These figures highlight the importance of fostering an environment where every team member feels valued and heard.

 

Throughout my career, I've encountered moments where my contributions were dismissed or ignored. True listening goes beyond the superficial—it involves engaging with the content of what's being said and giving it thoughtful consideration. I've been in situations where I stopped sharing ideas altogether due to a lack of acknowledgment.



 Impacts of Attentive Leadership

 Impacts of Attentive Leadership

 

Think about a time when a leader genuinely listened to you. The shift in your morale and motivation was probably profound. Listening is a challenging skill, especially in today's world filled with distractions. We process words much faster than we speak, which means active listening requires significant mental effort.



Consequences of Not Listening

Consequences of Not Listening

 

Consider the recent troubles of a major transportation manufacturer, plagued by manufacturing issues and a culture where employees felt unheard and fearful of speaking up. [Read more about the situation here]. The result? A loss of trust, both publicly and internally, and potentially, a change in the way the business operates completely.

 

 Trust Through Listening

 Trust Through Listening

 

Active listening is more than a communication tool—it's a trust-building mechanism. By truly engaging with your team, you strengthen relationships and garner support over time.





Proactivity and Problem-Solving

Proactivity and Problem-Solving

 

Listening proactively helps you identify and address issues before they escalate. Understanding the heart of a problem allows for timely and effective solutions.





Informed Decision-Making

Informed Decision-Making

 

Active listening equips you with the information needed to make well-informed decisions. As trust grows, team members are more likely to share insights that can reveal service gaps or opportunities for improvement.





Deepening Relationships

Deepening Relationships

 

How can we use active listening to gather information and strengthen our connections with team members? What benefits arise from deepening these relationships? Here are some tactics to enhance your listening skills:

 

  • Repeat what you've heard to ensure understanding.

  • Follow up conversations in writing to confirm details.

  • Pause before responding to fully process what's been said.


 Feedback as a Two-Way Street

 Feedback as a Two-Way Street

 

Effective communication involves both giving and receiving feedback. Remember, we control how we use the information we receive. When providing feedback, be kind, respectful, and mindful of creating a psychologically safe space. Consider cultural differences and approach interactions with humility and empathy.



Intellectual Honesty and Reliability

Intellectual Honesty and Reliability

 

Creating a psychologically safe environment means fostering intellectual honesty—being truthful in our ideas and their expression. It also means being reliable, transparent, and empathetic.






This month, we'll delve into the core of human-centered leadership. We'll explore how leaders can adopt this approach within their teams or organizations and how to mentor emerging leaders.

 

Stay tuned for insights on nurturing a leadership style that aligns with the values of today's dynamic work environment.


 



 

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