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Humans are social creatures that thrive on peer interaction. People always have the need to be seen, heard, and understood. As an HR leader in an organization, it’s your duty to help your employees fulfill these needs. With your undivided attention, you will fulfill your employees’ needs to be seen and heard. This is a particularly important skill to have as a leader since people will often tune into every word that you have to say and everything you do.

Avoid the Smartphone

That said, distractions are a common occurrence in today’s ever more technological world. Smartphones, in particular, play a hugely detrimental role in this regard, completely changing the way people interact with each other. Even when involved in face-to-face conversations, they feel a constant attraction to their mobile phones. Every sound and vibration the device makes can break their concentration and distract them.

Even the mere presence of a smartphone is distracting and disrupting. As an HR leader, you should be aware of this distraction and avoid it at all costs. You should focus solely on your conversation partner, which will make you stand out, thus facilitating meaningful dialogue.

If you’re looking to engage fully, look to silence everyone’s phones and computers during meetings. Before you enter a conversation, pause and clear your head. Also, consider what you hope to get from the exchange and how you can be an active contributor to it. Likewise, strive to be inquisitive, listen carefully, and display receptive body language. This includes things like facing the person, making eye contact, smiling, and reacting to what they have to say, among other such things. If you are focused and engaged in the conversation, the right body language will come naturally.

Focused Listening

Focused listening is an essential skill every HR leader needs to have. Miscommunication is a common occurrence, mainly because their inner dialogue or other disruptors keep distracting them. By quieting the voice in their heads, leaders will be able to get the subtext, the meaning, and the essence underlying the conversation. Active, focused listening translates to shifting your attention away from how to listen and more toward what to listen for.

Mind the Pygmalion Effect

By focusing their attention on what’s being said, leaders will also be able to make use of the so-called Pygmalion Effect. This effect is where active listeners can understand and recognize the other person’s potential. To be clear, discussions that revolve around a person’s potential are different from those that include positive-feedback. While the former is more personal, the latter is about their job performance and is more professional.

These discussions will show people what they’re truly capable of by acknowledging their talents, celebrating their successes, and pointing out how others see them.  A conversation about someone’s potential can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is your leadership style unlocking the full potential of your employees? If so, I would really like to know how you’re doing it. If not, I’m more than willing to go into more detail with you.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734