Listen. Really listen well. You'll learn a lot.
I could end it there, but I'll continue with a bit of expansion. Here are three steps to listening well (emphasis on "well").
1. Hear What People Are Saying
This is the easy part. Keep your ears open. Are people asking for the same thing all the time? Are you hearing complaints? Compliments? Are your employees expressing concerns?
2. Consider What You've Heard
Genuinely consider what's being said, objectively. Think through it from the other person's perspective. Is there a problem? An opportunity? Is there a recurring theme? Or just a one-time incident?
Now's your chance to DO SOMETHING. True listening should result in a response. Sometimes a response could be to wait and see. But, most times taking action based on what you've heard and considered is the right next step. Change a system or behavior. Say you're sorry. Offer a note of thanks.
This applies to a business owner as much as a husband/wife, mom/dad, or friend in any relationship. Listening well will change the dynamics of any situation.
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