You Don’t Listen - A Manufacturing Leader’s Wake Up Call
“Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing significant to say. ” — Andy Stanley
“Why don’t my employees bring me these problems?!” Joe the business owner asked me, exasperated.
We had just left a meeting where, unfortunately, common things have become stumbling blocks for his organization, creating customer fall-downs, frustration, and generally poor morale. Having known Joe for quite a while, I had seen this pattern too many times to count.
“Joe, why don’t we grab a coffee and talk about that?”
As we sat down, I said, “Joe, there is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it. You don’t listen to your people when they bring you things, are now you’re frustrated that they aren’t bringing these problems to you.”
We chatted for a while, and here are the things that we talked about that you should think about too. When people bring you a problem, do you:
- Explain away their concerns?
- Do you talk them out of their opinion?
- Do you express the need for them to say yes at all costs?
- Is every conversation and exercise of mental “jousting?”
- Do you tell them what to do?
- Do you talk over them?
- Do you just keep talking until they give up and go away?
It’s hard to see yourself doing these things, but if your people aren’t bringing you problems, you might want to ask them questions like these. Or, at the very least, spend some time thinking about how you approach and react when people bring you things.
YOU might be the reason people don’t bring problems to you.