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Active Listening
Naluri5 min read

Tuning In: The Power of Active Listening in Shaping Workplace Culture

Navigating workplace conversations can be tricky. There's a fine line between hearing someone and truly listening. That's where active listening comes in—it’s about processing, understanding, and responding meaningfully. In a dynamic workplace setting, mastering this skill isn't just beneficial; it's crucial.


Techniques of Active Listening

Engagement in Conversation

Being physically and mentally present in a conversation is vital for effective communication. This involves maintaining eye contact, nodding when appropriate, and avoiding distractions like phones or stray thoughts.

When you engage in a conversation, it's not just about hearing words. It's about understanding emotions, intentions, and undercurrents. Imagine being in a discussion where the other person continually looks around or checks their phone. Feels dismissive, doesn't it? So, aim to show through your body language and undivided attention that you are entirely with the speaker. This creates an environment where the person feels valued and encourages openness.

Patient Response

One of the essential traits of a good listener is patience. Resist the urge to interrupt or immediately offer your thoughts. Instead, let the speaker complete their point of view.

By practising patience, you provide the speaker with a safe space to express themselves. Responses like, "I see where you're coming from," or, "That's an interesting perspective," reinforce your attentive nature. Remember, sometimes it's not about agreeing but about understanding.

Echoing for Clarity

Echoing is like holding up a mirror to a conversation. It's about repeating or paraphrasing what the speaker has said to ensure clarity and mutual understanding.

For instance, after a colleague explains a new project idea, you might respond with, "If I understand correctly, you're suggesting..." This not only showcases that you were paying attention but also gives the speaker a chance to correct any misunderstandings. Echoing can be particularly beneficial in high-stakes or emotionally charged discussions, ensuring all parties are on the same page.

Maintaining a Neutral Stance

While our experiences and backgrounds shape our perspectives, active listening requires a certain level of neutrality. It's about understanding without letting personal biases overshadow the speaker's sentiments.

For example, when a team member shares an unconventional idea, respond with curiosity rather than immediate judgment. Phrases like, "That's an approach I hadn't considered, tell me more," can foster a non-threatening environment. By doing so, you encourage diverse voices and opinions, which can be invaluable in collaborative settings.

Utilising Open-ended Questions

Encouraging the speaker to elaborate further is key. Rather than asking questions that warrant a simple 'yes' or 'no', frame them in a way that demands a more extended response.

For example, instead of asking, "Did you like the new changes?", you might say, "How do you feel about the new changes?". Such questions can lead to more profound insights as they push the speaker to reflect and provide a more comprehensive answer.

Reading Non-verbal Cues

While words convey the message, non-verbal cues often reveal underlying emotions. By observing gestures, facial expressions, and tone, you can get a better grasp of the speaker's feelings.

If a colleague's words seem positive, but their tone and body language suggest frustration, it might be beneficial to dig deeper. You can say, "I sense some hesitation in your voice. Would you like to discuss it further?". This demonstrates your attention to detail and shows the speaker that you genuinely care about their wellbeing.

Feedback Appropriateness

Not everyone's looking for a solution. Sometimes, folks just want to be heard. So, before diving into advice mode, gauge if they're seeking feedback. And if they are, ensure it’s constructive, relevant, and considerate.


The Wellness Ambassador and Active Listening

As an ambassador, your role extends beyond personal application. It's about advocating for its widespread adoption.

  • Lead by Example: Your behaviour sets a precedent. When colleagues observe your commitment to active listening, it inspires emulation.
  • Workshops and Training: Consider advocating for workshops on active listening. Such sessions can provide hands-on techniques and experiences, refining the team's communication skills.
  • Feedback Sessions: Periodically, arrange sessions where team members can share their experiences, discussing instances where active listening made a difference. These stories can inspire and further emphasise the technique's importance.


Why Active Listening Matters

Promotes Mutual Respect

Active listening embodies respect and acknowledgement. When you actively attend to a colleague, it signifies a gesture of genuine interest in their words, creating an atmosphere where every voice is treasured. In such an environment, every individual, regardless of rank or tenure, feels recognised and integral to the organsational fabric.

Enhances Collaboration

True collaboration transcends mere teamwork, rooting itself in the confluence of diverse perspectives. Active listening becomes the cornerstone of this process. Ensuring everyone's views are deeply understood ushers in an authentic spirit of collective effort. This synergy not only reduces misunderstandings but also opens the door for innovative ideas stemming from collective wisdom.

Builds Trust

Trust, a vital organisational currency, grows incrementally. Active listening acts as a catalyst in this trust-building journey. Knowing that their expressions won't be disregarded, employees engage in open and candid communication. Over time, this continuous dialogue reinforces trust, laying the groundwork for enhanced productivity and heightened employee contentment.

Reduces Workplace Stress

Beneath the weight of tasks and deadlines, workplace stress often finds its roots in feelings of being undervalued or unheard. Cultivating a culture of active listening provides employees with a comforting assurance that their concerns and feelings have an empathetic audience. This acknowledgement not only mitigates feelings of professional isolation but also fosters a calmer, more positive workspace.

Cements Employee Loyalty

The decision to stay loyal to an organisation is multifaceted. Yet, the feeling of being genuinely heard plays a pivotal role. In environments where active listening is practised, employees recognise that their contributions — both tangible and spoken — are esteemed. Such an environment naturally enhances employee loyalty, ensuring a lower turnover and a team that's committed to the organisation's vision.



In the bustling ecosystem of the workplace, a Wellness Ambassador has the opportunity to truly make a difference. By championing active listening, you pave the way for a more inclusive, empathetic, and collaborative environment. 

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