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Date posted: 11th December 2023

11th December 2023

Guest Blog: 5 Ways Listening to Your People Makes You a Better Leader

Guest Blog: 5 Ways Listening to Your People Makes You a Better Leader

This guest blog is written by David Bellamy, Founder & CEO of Harkn – the live and continuous employee voice platform. 

Most business leaders see themselves as good listeners. After all, it’s hardly a new concept when it comes to effective communication. 

But there’s a difference between listening to somebody when they’re speaking to you and actively seeking their feedback. 

The latter is particularly important when it comes to being an effective people leader in the workplace. 

Barriers like unconscious bias and power distance will always keep some voices on the sidelines of your business, so a more proactive approach is needed to unlock meaningful feedback than simply waiting for it to come to you. 

Here’s 5 good reasons to start listening – and I mean really listening – to your employees:  

  • Their feedback will help you understand your business better. 

Your employees know the needs and frustrations of your customers, and they know the day-to-day frustrations of your business because they’re the ones that face them. Getting clear feedback on obstacles and opportunities from employees gives you the best chance of improving your business. 

  • Situational and contextual awareness will improve. 

When faced with complex, evolving situations, listening to what your employees have to tell you helps you to understand the current circumstances and plot the right course of action. It will also tell you the right tone and style you need to adopt to communicate that action to your people. Effective leadership, after all, is all about context. 

  • You gain insight into reality on the ground. 

Once you start listening to employees, you might be surprised at how different their reality is from your perception. Their feedback gives you knowledge and insights into day-to-day life in your organisation, which is otherwise hard to access in the executive echo chamber. 

  • It increases your capacity as a leader. 

We all come at things from different perspectives, and it’s this thought diversity that makes up an innovative and thriving workforce. When you open yourself up to the ideas and viewpoints of your people, you learn and grow as a leader. 

  • It shows you care. 

When we feel we’re being listened to, heard, and understood, we feel cared for. That’s a nice thing to aim for, right? But it’s also good business. Care accounts for 84% of organisational trust, so if you want your employees on board with big asks then it pays to show you care (Paul J. Zak – Trust Factor). 

“Leadership isn’t a title, and it’s not a position. It’s not tenure, and it’s not rank. Leadership is about capacity – being the type of person who’s able and willing to learn, be courageous, tackle difficulty and question the status quo.” 

Jeff Boss 

Harkn are revolutionising employee voice, giving leaders immediate access to insights and feedback from across their organisation – no need to wait 3-6 months for survey results. 

Book a virtual coffee with their team to find out more, and sign up to their newsletter to stay in the loop on the future of work.