I Can Hear Everything that My Employees Say – Should Not I Play?
I am the Executive Director of a small non-profit executive, who leads a team of six full time employees and part-time and volunteers.
Our office is mostly open plan, but two of us have private offices with large area doors which are almost always open. Since this is a small team, we have a network of duties and differentiate between most of what we do.
Now, my question: Because of the acoustic qualities of the office space and my extremely acute hearing, I can hear almost every word that is spoken by members of other employees.
I usually avoid commenting on what I have heard, with the hope that if it is something I need to bring, then I will.
Occasionally, however, I come out to join one or more staff members from my office on the basis of phone or in-person conversation, which I listen to a lot.
Usually I do this when I have information or perspective which seems important for the subject at hand. Is this a scary thing?
Should I refrain from joining those conversations that are not to start with “mine”, and if an employee chooses, then wait for the conversation – though I was not too much?
We maintain a professional but friendly and informal environment / culture. I do not have any information about my hearing, which makes me uncomfortable, but since I’m a manager, I’m not sure that I knew it was.
As a manager it is really tempting to have opinions on almost everything and want to share them – especially when your office is established in such a way, where you listen to everything that goes forward!
But holding back is the real value. If you do not hold back, you may end up with those employees who feel micromanaged, and who in the long term do not try to initiate or solve problems and get less investment in their work , And are generally less effective / happy / productive.
So the art is to know when to step in and when to stay away. This is the only difference between management for short-term results (where you just need to do this project well) and management for long term people (where you need to work your time over time) , And it can be hard!
In your case, I think it depends on how many times you hear something. If this is happening daily, then yes, it makes people think that they are being examined and they have no privacy, and this is an unpleasant way of working.
If this happens occasionally and what really matters about its stuff, then it may be okay. But of course the question is, what is the occasional?
In some cases, one or two times a week will be fine – if it’s “like I heard that you are trying to find the Jones file, and it’s actually on my desk.” But if it is more like “then it would be more effective to tell. Clients point to A and B,” By doing so, your employees are going to feel a lot twice a week, this is the reason they feel like this Chances are that you are not giving them space to do their work, and whatever they say is being investigated.
However, this is difficult, because still there may be a significant reaction to you!
And if you are seeing important things that need to be corrected, or the views which should be moved / expanded, or such skills that need to be created, you can not ignore it because you are really over Were not to be.
This stuff still matters, and as a manager you may need to take action on this. If this is the case, when you have the option to do this, instead of making a habit of interfering in the moment, find other ways to address those things.
It is okay to avoid telling you your information about your thinking, where you usually need clear guidance, or someone needs to be coached, or how you want to get things from people , But it is different from addressing it right there.
This does not mean that you should never jump if something is important or if you can save a lot of time. It’s just about bringing a prudent lens, and know about potential business.
It may also be worth investing in a white noise machine for your office. Perhaps everyone will be feeling better.