Listening for a Manager Is a Key to Success

Key Points

  1. Talk little—listen a lot
  2. Show interest
  3. Make it clear that you understand

Listening is an essential skill for a manager. I recommend that you work hard to develop your listening skills. Here are some points you should consider in this regard:

  1. Have a quiet place to meet
  2. Keep calm, don’t show your emotions
  3. Don’t interrupt
  4. Check for Understanding
  5. Make listening a priority


Managers with poor listening skills miss a lot. Often they are unaware of problems among their staff. They may also find it almost impossible to build trust, essential for a good working environment. Here are some of their comments I have heard about managers who are poor listeners:

“The manager talks a lot and I never get a chance to say anything.”

“The manager always interrupts me when I am trying to say something.”

“The manager doesn’t look at me when I am talking.”

The manager acts impatient, like I’m wasting her/his time.”

“The manager always answers the phone and has along converation when we are talking in the office.”


In my view the first quality of a good manager is silence. As they say,” You can’t hear someone if you are talking.” Give your employee the change to say what is on his/her mind.


Be aware of the difference between hearing and really understanding what they are saying. You can hear the words and get a general idea of what the speaker is saying, but that is not enough.


When you really understand what the other person is saying, you see things from the other person’s point of view. You take in the whole message, both verbal and non-verbal. The person will then sense that you really understand.

Published by pitman

I am a Business English Coach who works with managers and other professionals helping them to perform at their best when it is most important: such as a presentation, meeting with an important client, or a job interview. I am also a resource person for teachers of Business English.

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