ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Art of Being a Good Listener: What All New Supervisors Should Know About Listening Skills

Updated on December 23, 2012
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

Christine McDade is an experienced human resources manager.

Listening to a disgruntled employee is very important for resolving workplace issues.
Listening to a disgruntled employee is very important for resolving workplace issues. | Source

The Art of Good Listening

Sometimes, listening is underrated. While there is certainly a need to be able to think and speak on your feet, the art of being a good listener can at times be just what an employee needs from a supervisor. When an employee truly senses they have your time and attention, they will open up about their concerns and get to the heart of whatever matter is at hand. In addition, as any working relationship is, essentially, a relationship, giving an employee your undivided attention at crucial moments will assist in an important element of the relationship, trust.

New Supervisors:

When an employee shows up at the door of your office with a concern, consider the following:

  • Emotions may be running high for the employee. It will be important to listen through some of the emotions to get to the facts. Exercise patience as the employee explains the situation. For some of us, (not excluding "yours truly"), it may be challenging at times to listen to details that are obviously opinion and/or assumptions. Many employees will retell, and then relive a litany of events that have occurred in the past. By allowing the employee some time to voice their opinion to you, their supervisor, they will be able to unload some care or concern that might actually be solved simply by your time listening to them. When the time is right in the conversation, a supervisor can exercise appropriate empathy and give clear guidance to the employee on how to overcome the issue.
  • Be aware of nonverbal communication exchanged between you and the employee. As a supervisor, you can also be more effective in your listening by looking straight at the employee, keeping your arms down or at your side to avoid the desire to cross them. Be sure to forward your incoming calls to avoid interrupting the employee's discussion of the problem, and try not to look at your watch to avoid sending the verbal cue that you, the supervisor, is disinterested in what is being expressed to you.
  • Be patient and wait for the right time to speak. This employee has come to you for guidance or assistance in a matter that is of concern to them. Avoid interrupting or the urge to finish the person's sentence in order to speed along the conversation. Again, it might be hard to do, but patience is something to exercise in active, engaged listening. By listening to the concerns, you will know when it is time to interject your advice and support. Resist the notion that everyone around you handles challenges and workplace difficulties in the same way you do.

By giving your employee time and your uninterrupted attention, you will find that the employee will be appreciative and will likely be open to communicate with you on other occasions. Furthermore, it will provide insight into the problem with you directing them with questions and providing advice at timely moments in the conversation. A true leader will learn much from those who report to them from just listening to their concerns as well as their suggestions.

Good Listeners = Good Supervisors

So often, an employee with a concern just needs to be heard. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to be a good leader and model respectful listening with thoughtful replies as needed. Exercising good listening skills will demonstrate your commitment to see everyone succeed on your team. Spending time with employees for such occasions will build upon the trust in the working relationships that exist within your group. I have attended so many meetings with employees who have shared workplace concerns, and then thanked me for just listening. New supervisors will discover that good listening skills are an asset to being able to successfully lead the team. Listen to your employees!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      7 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      many of our communication methods is non-verbal. We may be saying one thing but our bodies are saying another. As supervisors, we need to be careful in vevery detail when we communicate. Also, Stephen Covey could not have said it better - Seek First to understand then to be understood. We fail to shut up and listen. This can cause more problems.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)