Small cap managers should tap into the power of listening
Published 12-AUG-2020 15:45 P.M.
3 minute read
Hey! Looks like you have stumbled on the section of our website where we have archived articles from our old business model.
In 2019 the original founding team returned to run Next Investors, we changed our business model to only write about stocks we carefully research and are invested in for the long term.
The below articles were written under our previous business model. We have kept these articles online here for your reference.
Our new mission is to build a high performing ASX micro cap investment portfolio and share our research, analysis and investment strategy with our readers.
Click Here to View Latest Articles
"Most of the successful people I know are the ones who do more listening than talking” – Bernard M. Baruch
Managers are an interesting lot.
Why is it we have such a strong desire to be heard and less of one to be present and engaged in the practice of listening deeply?
Is it to fuel our egos, stamp our authority or to be seen as the smartest human in the room? Alternatively, even worse assume that our hierarchical position gives us the ‘speaking spotlight’ whilst those below us should be captivated by the wisdom received from the words we speak?
HR Consultant Susan M. Heathfield cites not listening as one of the ten biggest mistakes a manager can make. She says, “listening is providing recognition and demonstrating your values in action. When employees feel heard out and listened to, they feel important and respected”.
I wonder what could happen if managers truly tapped into the power of listening?
Here’s my approach that I outline in my first book ‘Being Human – Why Robots Are Not The Answer to Business Success’ in the section I refer to as ‘Listen and Learn’.
The first rule is to ‘shut up and listen’ and realise that even though you are the manager, it’s not all about you! Now this can be easier said than done, as many managers have been conditioned that success comes from their incredible knowledge and the ability to articulate this into a winning strategy. In some way, being a manager gives you licence to fill the space with your next brilliant idea. Here’s a great question to ask yourself when you feel like filling the space: ‘I wonder what would happen if I just listened for the whole meeting’? Give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised about how much you learn.
Learn to sit easy with silence as that’s when moments of breakthrough can occur. Managers should use silence as an incredible tool to leave space to allow others to be listened to.
It’s a challenge to do as awkwardness is feared by most humans, but it allows for others to find their voice and be listened to. Hold your nerve and reap the results. Remember when your employees feel heard, they will tap into their discretionary effort.
You must follow through on what you have listened to. Create formal time for conversation and listen intently to those who are sharing their thoughts and ideas. Be serious about listening – don't pay it lip service as you will end up with a room full of awkward silence. Listening time shouldn’t be a ‘tick-the-box’ activity that allows you to get that end of year rating. Your employees will know very quickly by your follow through if you are doing it from a place of good intent or just doing it for self-serving reasons. Don’t treat them like fools.
Be present and remove all distractions. Put that tablet in your top drawer, turn off your phone or even better have it out of sight, keep eye contact and don’t allow for others to interruption and break the concentration and commitment you’ve made to them. These rules also apply for the remote check in’s as it is easy to detect whether you are present or not even on a Zoom call (oh and make sure the camera is turned on!!)
It’s never too late to become a great listener and there’s a lot of power in sharing with your team that you are focussing on becoming better at ‘listening and learning’ in order to help you, them and the team to be more successful. It may mean you have to swallow some pride but that initial sting will quickly go away as the power of listening becomes evident in your team. Fess up and become more human. Your team will appreciate this.
Listen and learn – it’s a powerful way to become a more human manager.
General Information Only
S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (S3, ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’) (CAR No. 433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information and is for informational purposes only. Any advice is general advice only. Any advice contained in this article does not constitute personal advice and S3 has not taken into consideration your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Please seek your own independent professional advice before making any financial investment decision. Those persons acting upon information contained in this article do so entirely at their own risk.
Conflicts of Interest Notice
S3 and its associated entities may hold investments in companies featured in its articles, including through being paid in the securities of the companies we provide commentary on. We disclose the securities held in relation to a particular company that we provide commentary on. Refer to our Disclosure Policy for information on our self-imposed trading blackouts, hold conditions and de-risking (sell conditions) which seek to mitigate against any potential conflicts of interest.
Publication Notice and Disclaimer
The information contained in this article is current as at the publication date. At the time of publishing, the information contained in this article is based on sources which are available in the public domain that we consider to be reliable, and our own analysis of those sources. The views of the author may not reflect the views of the AFSL holder. Any decision by you to purchase securities in the companies featured in this article should be done so after you have sought your own independent professional advice regarding this information and made your own inquiries as to the validity of any information in this article.
Any forward-looking statements contained in this article are not guarantees or predictions of future performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control, and which may cause actual results or performance of companies featured to differ materially from those expressed in the statements contained in this article. S3 cannot and does not give any assurance that the results or performance expressed or implied by any forward-looking statements contained in this article will actually occur and readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
This article may include references to our past investing performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of our future investing performance.