Human beings differ from other creatures in their way of communicating. Communication systems in other living creatures are closed systems with limited number of messages that can be transmitted. However, people have the ability to create an unlimited set of expressions with their advanced communication skills. However, the ability to create an unlimited number of messages alone does not mean a lot. Communication occurs only when the message is understood and processed by the recipient. The process of making sense of an unlimited number of messages is a complex process in which many different factors come together.
Communication skills, which is one of the key elements that distinguish people from other living creatures, is one of the most valuable skills in the professional and social life of executives who are in constant communication, forming, transmitting and receiving critical messages. As with any skill, communication skills differ from person to person and can be improved. Being a good listener, getting the messages that are intended to be conveyed, and being able to make sense of the messages accurately provides the managers an immense advantage in this sense.
Literally, listening means the ability to correctly receive and interpret messages in the communication process. The more the listening ability can be improved, the more possible it is for the established communication to serve its purpose and create value.
It is vital for managers to understand both the parties they are negotiating with and the teams they manage. Managers are the interlocutors of a wide variety of messages and message sources. Because of their position, their ability to interpret the message conveyed has significant consequences for their organization.
In my works with my clients, I observe that listening is a very important area of development. Trying to do a lot of things in a short time, target pressure and some habits, unfortunately do not strengthen managers when it comes to listening. Managers’ awareness of their listening level is a critical success factor, and that he is aware of the impact this has on business performance. Interventions due to time and performance pressure actually cause inefficient work.
To achieve successful listening, which is the starting point of successful management, it is useful to gain awareness about the three levels of listening. In the first level, internal listening, the awareness of the listener is on himself, listener makes sense of the message from their perspective. Therefore, the listener's focuses on what the message means for him, the listener at this level hears what is being said, but it is his own thoughts and judgements that he really listens to. In the second level, focused listening, awareness is at the sender of the message, the person speaking. By listening the backgrounds of the messages and focusing on how the statements are said, information about the sender is collected. At this level, the perspective of the person speaking is perceived. The successful listener processes and reflects the data it has acquired at this level. The third level of listening, the ideal listening level, is global listening. This level involves all the elements that we can perceive with our senses. In this level, listener focuses not only on the message, but on the body language of the sender, his intonation, his responses to what is said, his mood, in short, all sources where data can be obtained. Utilizing all the resources requires high concentration and listener should play an active role. At this level, as well as senses, intuition can be used as a means of listening. Thus, we do not only hear
the words with our ears, read the body language with our eyes, but also, we are able to use our intuition and all the abilities that we can receive messages with, we can be all ears. It is important that the listener realizes how much space the speaker needs. While the speech tempo of some people is quite slow, it can be very fast for others. Acknowledging the space needs of the speakers increases the efficiency. Synchronization is important in listening. Otherwise, positive results of harmony will not be accomplished. Effective listening does not stand for listening the repetitions of the same thing over and over again. As the time should be used efficiently, it is essential for the manager to intervene in such cases, and make the necessary guidance. Under these conditions, listening, one of the keys to successful management, serves performance.
In one of the practices among the application parts of my works, where the other side is listened without speaking for 15 minutes, I observe that some managers have difficulty in listening with focus, they sometimes talk with their own agenda rather than focusing on what the other party says, although they are told not to speak. The focus, which is an important element of listening, is related to the level of the concentration. Strengthening on this is under the initiative of the manager.
Utilizing the senses and intuition with maximum capacity, managers can interpret the messages conveyed and observe the background of the messages, when they fully focus their awareness on the transmitter and message. In this way, the established communication proceeds in a healthy direction and creates a basis for accurate management decisions, and creates awareness for the possibilities to increase the performance of the managed team. This helps further flow of information from the sender who realizes that he is actually being listened to, and establishes a strong bond between the listener and the speaker. This bond is one of the essential criteria of the successful management. It is also an important concept for team motivation. It constitutes a basis for seeing the motivation points of employees and transformation of that into business performance. The development of basic coaching skills such as listening, speaking, and strong questioning skills by all professional studies serves to communication quality, performance and experiencing a gentler business environment. The corporate world holds the lead in terms of awareness and development. Extensive works on this issue will support dignity and courtesy in communication with other parties in the community. As managers are role models, these competencies will be a subject of observation and practice for manager candidates. This will positively affect productivity in the corporate world.