People power

People power: hearing is not necessarily believing

Businesses rely on many things – their customers (obviously), their suppliers, their advisers…but most importantly, their people! But often the best people don’t get listened to.  This seems absurdly counter intuitive – why on earth wouldn’t you listen to good ideas from your staff, the very people you rely on?  I read an interesting article the other day which explained this odd situation; it seems that this is not necessarily our fault, it is to do with the ways our brains are wired.

Instead of relying on subject matter experts, people often pay closest attention to the person who talks most frequently, or who interrupts, or has the most impressive title, or comes from the owner’s home town. Why is this? Rather than aligning with actual expertise, when our brains are left to their own devices, attention is drawn to shortcuts, such as turning focus to the loudest or tallest person in the room.

 

Giving our focus to someone based on a completely random attribute that just happens to catch our brain’s attention subliminally is obviously not a great strategy for making decisions! But once we are aware of this we can retrain ourselves.  So stop, take a moment and reassess the situation.  In a meeting, are you listening to the best person or just the loudest?  Invite comments in turn, and don’t be afraid to (nicely) tell the loud person to wait their turn and encourage the quiet person to speak out. Make sure everyone is heard – and I mean that metaphorically as well as literally; invite your staff to be “heard” not just in meeting but by staff surveys, staff suggestions, by dealing with concerns raised with managers, in appraisals and in all walks of your business’s daily life.

After all, if the people who can offer the most valuable contributions to the business don’t feel that their contributions get any recognition or are ignored in favour of other people who don’t actually have as much value to add (despite being the loudest/most extroverted/a childhood friend of the owner’s sister etc), they will either not stay, or worse,  they will stay and stop trying. The more you hear, the more diverse and inclusive your business can be and the more likely it is that the best ideas will come flowing through!

Please click here to go back to other Taxing Times stories…

<Jun 2019>
MTWTFSS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30

Jun 26

No events today
You provide us with an excellent service which is first class. We know that we only need to pick up the phone to have access to the best possible accountants and advice. Everyone is very friendly and professional. We value our working relationship with you a great deal. Thank you.
-- Wallbank Farms Limited