Management #PeopleSkills: How Procedures Quietly Block Listening

Management People Skills: Procedures Block Listening

What can block great listening? Most people list the standard obstacles: external noise, internal thoughts, fatigue, stress, emotion, and so on. Yet there is one obstacle whose power to block listening often goes undetected. As a quiet hidden block it has power over behavior and results. It’s a management people skills misstep that we need to eliminate.

Management People Skills: Image is Humanoid Reading a Procedure Manual

Management People Skills: How Procedures Block Listening

Many thanks for image by SewabhArticg.Org.

Management People Skills: How Procedures Block Listening

Valuable procedures are usually put in place with good intentions. They clarify steps, establish a level of quality, and ensure consistency. In medical and surgical situations, they reduce risk of infection and improve survival rates. Procedures are sometimes established for compliance to laws and regulations.

Yet there are many procedures not mandated by medical science or laws and regulations. They do not guarantee quality because they remain static in the face of changing needs and situations. As some people raise issues, others don’t listen. They respond, “That’s not standard procedure or “We don’t do it that way.” They have traded the great management people skills of listening and dynamic discussion with a robotic procedural focus.

Procedural focus blocks listening when …

  • Employees are not empowered. Procedures make them feel comfortable and safe. They tow the procedural line without first listening to input. When they do this with customers, customer experience suffers and customers leave. Tip: Use great management people skills to model how to listen and adapt procedures appropriately.

  • Leaders and managers are in love with best practices and metrics. They snap into “what’s the procedure” vs. listening to the particulars and seeing procedures as guidelines to success.Tip: Use great management people skills to show employees how to listen to changes and evolve procedures appropriately.

  • Departments fear cross-teamwork and loss of territory/power. As one department tries to work with another to solve problems, the response is frequently, “that’s not our procedure.” Not listening becomes an attempt to protect their domain. Tip: Use great management people skills to show everyone how they all win when they listen and work together.

  • Highly innovative employees unsettle the status quo. As these free spirited change agents assume that innovation is what everyone wants, other employees stop listening and quote procedure. Tip: Use great management people skills to unite employees through listening. Have them discuss the gaps between them. Refocus everyone with discussions on vision, mission and tangible goals.

  • How have you tapped the benefits of procedures without blocking listening & change?

    From my professional experience to your success,
    Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

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    Listening Beyond Our Boundaries

    ©2016 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

    Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


    Engage in people skills learning!

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    ~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

3 Responses to “Management #PeopleSkills: How Procedures Quietly Block Listening”

  1. […] Management People Skills: Procedures Block Listening Written by: Kate Nasser […]

  2. Great post Kate!

    This is such an important topic. Balancing the need for procedures with the need to listen and change.

    Procedures can literally save lives on a job, but they often become an excuse to be lazy and not think.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Procedures can save lives Chery when they have a basis in science or experience. Yet beyond that, they become a crutch that denies greatness.

      Many thanks for your feedback on this post. I appreciate you.

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