One of the important skills for a manager is listening. As a manager, one is habituated to respond to things. Over a period of time, I personally feel that the listening skills actually go down for managers.
If you want to check this out, go to any (the topic could be any) meetings and you will see the managers adding their 2 cents (sometimes even without knowing the context).
I once went to a technical event and even before the speaker started speaking a friend of mine asked his first question. If you are going to attend an event, are you not going there to listen?
Listening is one aspect to it. The other aspect is knowing when to keep your mouth shut.
Have you noticed this? When someone comes and says that they have done something, instead of listening you can see the manager adding his comments (Don’t get me wrong. I am also a Manager). Though, i mentioned it as manager’s, it is applicable for anyone who is dealing with people.
In his book, What got you here Won’t get you there, Marshall Goldsmith talks about the 20 bad habits in interpersonal behaviour. One of the point is “Adding too much value” or “Adding 2 cents” to anything and everything.
When someone has come up with an idea and instead of saying “Great Job” and encouraging the person, the manager adds his value. When someone adds his value, the idea becomes the manager’s.
Though it may not look like a big deal, this results in affecting the commitment of the other person. The person who came up with the idea feels demotivated.
Marshall Goldsmith has given some suggestions on how to avoid adding too much value.
Before speaking to you direct reports:
1. Look into the other person’s eyes. Ask yourself: “Will my ‘added value’ make this person more — or less — committed to doing a great job?”
2. If the answer is “less committed,” then ask yourself: “Does the value added by my contribution exceed the loss in commitment from this person?”
3. If the answer is “no,” don’t comment.
Before speaking in team meetings:
1. Ask yourself: “Is this comment going to make our team more effective — or is it just intended to prove that I’m cleverer than my peers?”
2. If the primary driver of the comment is your own ego, don’t say it!
As a leader and manager, it’s very important to see your team members develop. It’s very important to make the other person feel valued. Feeling valued will improve commitment which results in engagement.
You do not want to show the world how smart are you at the cost of other person’s commitment.
Reference: Tips for managing smart people