As you may remember, I believe that there is a difference between hearing and listening. Listening is the bit where we actually take in what someone is saying rather than just appearing to be polite by giving them time.
Listening involves thinking about what we are hearing. It involves being aware of our surroundings. At work it involves knowing what is happening around us. It involves actual communication – a two-way process – rather than just hearing instructions. Listening is about joined-up teamwork, about getting things done.
Not listening and not communicating is when things go wrong. Not listening amounts to poor management. I see it in large companies who fail their customers. I see it in the public sector to do with planning, and in the UK National Health Service. If people don’t listen, or if workers don’t expect to be heard so they stay silent, things go wrong. Customers suffer. Patients in hospital and outside quite literally suffer. Yet the workers who are supposed to serve them have collectively all the knowledge they need to deliver the right service. They don’t talk, they don’t ask, and they DON’T LISTEN.
You and I know that we need to listen to each other. We need to listen to the people who work for us. Mostly we need to listen to our customers. I am sure you are listening, aren’t you?