Julie, I agree that a leader’s ability to listen to employees is a critical trait that enhances productivity at the workplace and develops cohesion among the employees. It is true that problems arise and accumulate in the workplace, because the most leaders lack listening skills, as they are only concerned with issuing orders and directives.
In the most cases, the employee is at the receiving end and is not allowed to finish their sentences. Listening is critical, since it allows both leaders and employees to develop solutions to issues that the leader alone cannot solve satisfactorily. In addition, I agree with you that compassion is essential in developing positive work relationships where leaders are depicted as caring for the well-being of employees. It is through compassion that leaders can understand the issues that employees face and develop ways of dealing with such challenges. In addition to that, through listening a leader can understand the individual employee’s shortcomings, hence, develop strategies that will motivate and enhance the employee’s productivity.
However, while these attributes are ideal for the perfect workplace, the reality is often the opposite. Most leaders do not listen to their employees and when an employee attempts to speak, he or she is rudely cut off with ideas they may have dismissed as irrelevant. Though listening is critical in fostering healthy and productive work environment, there are instances where listening to an employee may undermine the leader’s authority.
What will happen when the leader listens to employees and the employees become complacent in their duties? The leader should ensure that listening to employees is not construed as inferiority, but is seen as a strengthening strategy. It is true that delegation at the workplace can only succeed, if the leader listens to the subordinate. Through listening, the leader can identify areas of weakness where his or her assistance is required. Consequently, eliminating redundancies and escalation of work related problems.
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