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Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Are You Listening Intentionally? Learn Three Work Strategies and How To Engage Each

September 02, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

At Disney Institute, we believe that showing genuine care for employees is the best way to enhance workplace culture and drive sustained employee engagement. In demonstrating genuine care, there is one factor we have observed that distinguishes a good organization from a great organization: leaders who intentionally listen.

In our Disney Institute training work, we teach individuals and organizations the essential concept of intentional listening. As an important signal of genuine care, intentional listening is an important leadership tool that builds relationships and earns employee trust.

So, how can you get started and improve your listening skills? Interestingly, author Tony Robbins writes about the importance of recognizing the way employees work. “If you want to get the most out of your employees, or your children, or those you supervise, figure out their work strategies,” Robbins says.

According to Robbins, their work strategy (the way an employee functions at work) generally falls into one of three categories:

  • Independent Strategy: Those who often find it difficult to work closely with others. These employees crave autonomy and work best with minimal supervision.
  • Cooperative Strategy: Employees who embrace a cooperative strategy work best in groups where responsibility is shared. They may champion a task individually, but thrive when given the opportunity to collaborate with their team.
  • Proximity Strategy: A hybrid of the previous two strategies, employees who exhibit a proximity strategy enjoy the opportunity to work as a part of a team but also require time to work individually.

As a leader, this is an opportunity for you to practice intentional listening by talking with your team about their personal work preferences. After the conversation, look for opportunities and ways to modify your daily interactions to best suit their personal work strategy, or style. Understanding and adapting to employees’ personal styles will help you to maximize their potential, and it will demonstrate to them that you genuinely care about them as an individual.

Intentional listening is a critical skill that every leader should master. If you would like to learn more, consider enrolling in our Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement professional development training course. Or, for more on this topic, see:

Tell us - How will understanding your teams’ individual work styles help you to become a more effective leader?

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Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Culture, Genuine Care, Care, Leadership, Listening, Intentional Listening, Recognition, Communication, Work Strategy, Tony Robbins, Bruce Jones


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