How to make your team listen to you?

You’re the boss; you have the authority to tell your subordinates what to do, and yet they don’t seem to listen. If you’re stuck in this mode, you easily can become frustrated and start lashing out or turning into a mockery of the leadership process to which you’ve been assigned. Here are some ways to get your employees to follow your directions without resorting to angry threats that only lead to resentments among the workers.

1. Think of yourself as a coach helping your workers become better at their jobs rather than a taskmaster who is only concerned about production. Approaching workers as a teacher requires a clear understanding of the jobs they are performing. You might set up training courses for those who continue to fall behind or seem to ignore you.

2. Approach employees individually and ask them what they need to follow your instructions. Maybe they don’t listen to you because they haven’t been thoroughly trained or don’t have the proper tools or sufficient time to finish a project. Put yourself in the role of facilitator and help them get what they need to do their jobs.

3. Communicate your instructions clearly and encourage employees to ask questions and provide additional input. When subordinates feel respected, they are more likely to offer suggestions or ask pertinent questions that help them and you achieve success. Repeat instructions with patience when necessary. Put your orders in writing and send electronic reminders to your employees or post goals in a high-traffic area.

4. Listen closely to the feedback you get from your employees. While you might think their concerns or suggestions are irrelevant and they should just do what they’re told, workers may actually have important information to share. At the same time, people who feel they are heard are much more likely to cooperate with you.

5. Align your facial expressions and tone of voice with the words you’re speaking. If you are in a coaching mode, make sure you also look and sound friendly and caring. If you are open for questions, convey that attitude by sitting or standing still and looking at the person who is speaking. If you are delivering important instructions, make sure you create an environment that matches the seriousness of your orders. Invite workers into a conference room or stop all workflow to alleviate outside interferences.

Influencing a team is never easy in the best of times. Under pressure, motivating an anxious, frustrated, or recalcitrant staff can feel nearly impossible. But as leaders, the most important conversations are often the ones we have with ourselves. Start by examining your own motives, then branch out to creating genuine connections, and talking about the one or two behaviors that are most likely to make a real impact–not just for you but for everyone. And you get the chance to build your influencing skills which is a plus.

Check out my related post: How to manage your stakeholders?

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