How to listen to hear and how to speak to be heard

Many mediations I do involve a staff member and their manager. The staff member complains that they can’t make themselves heard by the manager. The manager says that they are just doing their job by making decisions. Although there has been a discussion between the manager and the staff member, the staff member will feel that the manager’s decision does not reflect that. Why? This is because the staff member feels they were not heard. This is often because they do not get to say all of the points they want to say as the manager will listen to a bit of what they are saying and then ask questions to gain more information. In so doing, the staff member feels that they have lost control of presenting the information the way they want to. How to avoid this situation?

  • The staff member could be specific and concise when presenting their information.

  • The manager could ensure that they give the staff member the opportunity to say all of their points.

  • The manager could check at the end of the conversation if the staff member has said all they wished to say.

  • In a matter that is of great importance to the staff member, it would be helpful if the manager gives reasons for their decision once it is made, particularly why they may have rejected some of the points that the staff member made. This way, the staff member is more likely to accept the decision as they feel that their points were considered by the manager in the decision-making process.

All of this may seem too involved in a busy workplace but it is worthwhile as it can reduce the possibility of frustration from the staff member’s point of view.