Sunday, June 28, 2015
Listening Means Suspending Judgment
I pondered your question about management not listening and offer the following: For one to listen they must stop talking, verbally and non-verbally. That includes suspending whatever agenda, perceptions, preconceived notions, desires, repulsions or judgements they may have. Their aim should be to fully and completely understand the person. Any notion of helping or problem solving should come after communication has been completed.
You also asked for "advice for hospice employees working for managers who say they believe in teamwork but act autocratically, who say they're open to input but never seek it, who hold it against employees finally fed up enough to take the risk to speak out." I offer several observations for those who must find their way in such circumstances.
There are ways of managing that appreciate the depth and complexity of life, that honor whole people in the workplace, that focus on the most important things (which is not numbers or money), that foster teamwork, trust and achieving great things. This cannot be done by control from above, whether it be edicts from senior executives, regional managers or local site leaders. "Doing to" people may achieve the illusion of success on shallow measures. This is as fleeting as the house built on sand.
"Doing with" is the only way to achieve success over time. Your company and site leader are limited in their vision. They obsess over measures that are not primary. They are not able to suspend their talking to hear.
People experiencing this form of management obtuseness and control are naturally frustrated. Yet, this is an opportunity for growth. I encourage you to observe that which is going on. Try to observe the whole room, including your reactions as situations unfold. What is being triggered in me? Why do I have this reaction at this time? If you can monitor and learn from your self-talk you can become a better listener.
The challenge is for you to become a better listener. What you learn from yourself and others will guide your future.
StrangeTony (from retirement)