“I feel like I’m not being heard,” said the employee. “I offer suggestions, and it’s as if no one hears me. But then, if someone else offers the same exact suggestion, it is heard and implemented right away.”
“Why doesn’t my manager hear ME?”
This tends to be a two-sided issue, summarized in one word: COMMUNICATION.
Communication is both listening and speaking, and there are some who miss part of the equation.
Two Sides of the Communication Coin
Leaders Who Don’t Listen Well
In this scenario, which plays out daily in workplaces across the world, it could be that a leader is not listening to everyone on their team. They may have selected go-to people they will hear and may, perhaps inadvertently, overlook one person who could offer even greater insights.
An effective leader will take the time to hear ideas from everyone, knowing that each person brings a unique perspective. Great leaders are also in the business of developing teams of leaders; so, they will provide a platform and opportunity for an otherwise reticent employee to express their thoughts and ideas.
Consider the leader of a large retail chain who has a limited scope of communication. They do not communicate with local store managers or salespeople who are on the front lines with customers. Instead, they have a top-down approach to marketing and inventory acquisition.
The problem is that they are not listening to the store managers, the salespeople, and, ultimately, their customers. It is as if the managers, salespeople, and customers are speaking, but the leaders are not listening. And, as a result, customers are taking their business elsewhere. Money talks (and walks) when leaders don’t listen.
Employees Who Don’t Speak Well
On the other side of the coin may be an employee who does not speak well. This can happen in many forms, but speaking well generally means speaking clearly, concisely, and with confidence and conviction. It is also important to understand the other person, so you are communicating in a way that resonates with them.
For instance, if you are an I-S personality, you would tend to be excited to share an idea and provide a lot of detail. This is great! But if you are speaking with a D-wired leader, you will want to speak directly and get to the point quickly. Speak with confidence, conciseness, and clarity, and a D-wired leader will hear you.
If you are speaking to a C-wired leader, then you will want to bring the detail, including the “why” of what can be done and the defined result. Be prepared to answer questions and have facts and statistics to support an idea for action. Contain your thoughts to one actionable idea at a time and allow time for consideration. When communicating with a C-wired leader, understand that silence is not an awkward pause; it is the white space your C-wired leader needs to process what you are sharing with them.
If you are speaking to an I-wired leader, the conversation will flow naturally. Just be sure it ends with a clear call to action.
And if speaking to an S-wired leader, allow time to work through important details, but then have a deadline for action to be taken. Collaboration plus action is key in this scenario.
How can you communicate well in the workplace?
Sometimes, it is a simple as flipping the coin. Listen AND speak. Listen to those outside your normal circles, and speak with confidence, clarity, and conciseness as the occasion warrants.
If this does not come naturally to you, practice. Communication is a learned skill. Focus on listening to or speaking with the other person according to their style. Flip the coin on communication. You will be amazed at the difference it makes!
- Assess your communication style. Do you prefer direct, concise communication, or ideation and details?
- Do you listen AND speak well? Which do you need to practice?
- How broad is your circle of communication? Do you need to reach out beyond your normal circle for added perspective?
- Do you adapt your speaking and listening style in order to communicate with your team in their natural communication language?
- Is there anyone in your organization who does not feel heard?
- Is that someone you?
To learn your communication style or to help you team learn theirs, click here.
Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after executive coach, mentor, consultant, and speaker worldwide. Deb is well versed in business operations and in the importance of asking key questions most business leaders won’t ask themselves. She brings deep experience in leadership development, strategy, high performance team building and effective communication. She has a passion for leading people to discover and maximize their strengths as well as those of fellow team members, while offering advanced strategies to achieve high performance. Deb is the perfect fit if you’re ready to take your leadership and impact to the next level!