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August 3, 2017

4 Reasons Why Your Employees do not Listen to You Anymore

Immanuel Kant already knew: “A good listener is a silent flatterer.” But if the words go in one employee`s ear and directly out of the other, something is really going wrong in the company. Here are four reasons, why employee communication can be quite difficult sometimes.

1. A Lack of Empathy

Being an empathic leader means, recognizing the personality of each employee and reacting to it appropriately. Which means you have to empathize in the respective person without questioning his or her character traits and personality. If a leader is lacking empathy, it will cause emotional damage and maybe even aggression among colleagues, which will make cooperation almost impossible. To counteract these blockages from the outset, a leader must above all: Listen and show empathy. Only if the upper ranks live according to their ideals, the employees will follow.

Frank House of Cards

2. A Lack of Self-Reflection

Being an empathic leader means, recognizing the personality of each employee and reacting to it appropriately. Which means you have to empathize in the respective person without questioning his or her character traits and personality. If a leader is lacking empathy, it will cause emotional damage and maybe even aggression among colleagues, which will make cooperation almost impossible. To counteract these blockages from the outset, a leader must above all: Listen and show empathy. Only if the upper ranks live according to their ideals, the employees will follow.

For employees, however, it holds enormous potential for frustration. In particular, when all this is demanded of them, but the employer does not make any progress himself. However, those who work continuously on their communication, reflect on themselves and train their self-perception, will for sure convince their employees. The fact that this is not done with one or two executive trainings is self-explanatory. Little tip: Weekly, anonymous employee surveys can capture the mood in the team quick and easy. If there is need for improvement, one can jump in immediately.

Meryl Streep mit Sonnenbrille

3. A Lack of Authenticity

If a leader gets compliments such as „She`s passionate about this case“ or „He means what he says!“ one has obviously been successful. The secret recipe that generates such enthusiasm is authenticity. Being authentic is valued higher by employees than professional competence, empathy or resilience. It`s no secret that real people and real emotions are valued the most among colleagues. Faking it however isn`t. A leader who is real, is someone who has emotional intelligence. He knows how to deal with his own, sometimes unpleasant feelings. A supervisor should be able to switch to certain „sub-roles“: sometimes being a colleague, sometimes a girlfriend, a father or a daughter and yet always an employer – without acting.

Unsympatischer Anzugträger

4. Lack of Stories

We use storytelling in a variety of industries and areas, but storytelling as a leadership skill is still unfamiliar to most people. Manager expect their employees to be highly creative and motivated, to love their job and to be passionate about it. Using storytelling to deliver this messages is a way to get the most out of the employees. There is a great power in telling stories and it only takes simple parameters, to be able to implement this art in one´s own company:

Serie Friends Springbrunnen Szene

  • Originality: Often a quick glance at one´s own company history is enough to recognize what makes the brand unique. Be it a nice startup story or a great vision.
  • Continuity: Of course it is crucial, to define a unique voice and special tonality. By doing so it gets easier to tell the stories through different media and platforms. When appropriate, companies should refrain from using business communication and choose a language that they use internally.
  • Humor: Every good story deserves a good laugh. If a company doesn´t take itself too seriously, it automatically seems more authentic to the public. Humorous anecdotes of teambuilding or the Christmas party can be found in every company.
  • Emotionality: If you want to inspire your audience, you also have to arouse emotions. A leader who opens up about some milestones or even hurdles in the company´s history, can be sure that they will be listened to.

Conclusion

A boss who looks into the mirror in the morning and reflects upon himself, someone who cares about the issues of his employees and with whom they like to have an after-work drink on Fridays – executives nowadays need a variety of leadership skills apart from performance, pressure to succeed and expertise. Those who, as managers, listen to their employees, open themselves up and show that they are interested in creating a common voice, make themselves heard and thus secure long-term success for the company.

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Stefanie Möser
Senior-Beraterin bei Mashup Communications
Ein Prise Gelassenheit, eine große Ladung Humor und viel Herz und Verstand: Das ist Steffis Geheimrezept für die perfekte Team-Power. Ihre Top-Tools sind immer griffbereit: Stift und Papier, denn die besten Geschichten finden sich nicht am Büro-Schreibtisch.