Business owners require their employees to master several soft skills to help build a strong organizational culture. One of the most important soft skills that managers need is communication. Listening to your employees helps them feel valued and helps you to be a better manager. Here are some ways you can improve your relationship with your employees.

Stay Focused

Employees know that they are taking your valuable time to speak with you. Honestly discussing a situation may be intimidating for employees, especially if they are discussing personal concerns. Pay attention to their non-verbal cues, including body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Keep your body language open – maintain eye contact and keep an open body posture.

Drop the Distractions

When an employee approaches you, make the effort to avoid distractions. Put away your phone. Set aside reports on your desk. Some managers move to a guest chair to focus on the conversation. If you are mentally distracted, ask the employee to make an appointment and discuss the matter when you can give them your full attention.

Ask Questions

Try to focus on listening to what the employee says. Allow them to talk for about 80% of the conversation. Limit the remaining 20% to clarifying questions to help ensure you understand the message. Avoid interrupting your employees or challenging their statements when they are talking.

Provide a Summary

When the employee is finished, take a moment to summarize what you were told. Try to empathize with the staff member. Ask for them to verify or correct your understanding. Your employee should leave the meeting confident that you comprehend the situation.

Do Something

Ask the employee to define a successful resolution. With that information, create a plan of action. As you were listening, you probably recognized some action steps to help the employee move forward. You may also consider using this time to clear up any misconceptions the employee may have.

Follow Up

Schedule at least one meeting with the employee to verify how they are proceeding with the situation. Revisit the above strategies to make the team member most comfortable. They should know that you are invested in their success. Depending on the concerns, you may need to meet with them several times to ensure a complete resolution to the matter.

Implementing these strategies into your management style will strengthen your relationship with your employees. When employees feel heard, it increases morale. Increased morale leads to more satisfied, more productive employees.