Over these last two years, needs across the board have changed. Home and work environments have merged, pandemic fatigue has come and gone more times than we can count, and now we slide into this new year with grit, resilience, and hope. As we navigate the “new normal” along with the lingering reality of new Covid variants in 2022, listening abilities will be a key skill set for team members and leaders alike.
We talk a lot about being an effective communicator and how we can adapt to better our communication. Something that is easily overlooked is that being effective communicators requires us to be effective listeners. In fact, the best communicator is the best listener. The keyword is effective. We are all familiar with active listening skills, which include choosing a quiet, distraction-free environment, asking one question at a time, not jumping to conclusions or solutions, and summarizing back to the person what you’ve heard.
Let’s dig in further…
Active listening only concerns itself with the messages on the surface level. It is transactional in nature. As team leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure the longevity of our teams along with the well-being of its members. This requires a different level of engagement. So, you could say that the best communicator is an engaged listener. One way of doing this is learning to listen between the lines. Ask yourself what is not being said here and then commit yourself to further investigation. People are dealing with an unprecedented set of challenges and the needs of your team may not be easy to see on the surface, especially with hybrid workspaces. Seeking out and supporting your team requires a different level of listening.
Needs-based listening is:
- Meeting needs through creative solutions/alternatives.
- Paying attention to signs of burn-out even if the team member seems to be “bearing up” ok. They may be putting on a braver face than they feel.
- Paying attention to changes in behavior.
- Changes in performance
- Lack of attention
- Making uncharacteristic mistakes
- Social withdrawal
- Uncharacteristic or unpredictable behavior
If you notice these signs, ask how your team member is and give them time and space to tell you. Ask probing questions to get beneath the surface level platitudes.
A useful tool to assist in these efforts is the Forté Adapting Update, which provides a consistent way to “listen” to how your team is doing and feeling.
The Forté Adapting Update Report identifies how an individual has been adapting to his or her environment over the past 30-day period.
Forté also can longitudinally track and graph how an individual or team is adapting to a specific environment, specific individual, or both.
Forté updates individuals on how they are adapting their strengths, current logic style, current stamina level, and current goals index. With each adapting update, they also learn how they are most likely coming across to others now and for the next 30 days. From this update, a new communication style strategy is presented to use for the next 30-day period.
“The Forté Communication intelligence tools provide the ability for each individual to embark on a level of personal awareness for improved communication, resulting in an increased ability to both listen more fully and be understood more deeply.” - Kathryn Findlen, MBA - Creative Mindset
If you would like more information or have questions, please contact us via Contact - > The Forte Institute
or (910) 452-5152. And if you would like to experience Forte for yourself, click here
for a complementary Forte Communication Style Survey. This will take you less than eight minutes and you will have your results immediately upon completion.
C.D. “Hoop” Morgan, III is the founder and chairman of The Forté Institute, LLC, a global behavioral sciences firm best known for developing and providing innovative people, process and interpersonal performance improvement solutions. Forté provides online communication style reports to more than 6,000 corporate clients throughout the globe. To learn more about the company, go to www.theforteinstitute.com or call (910) 452-5152.