Do You Really Know What’s Going Around You? A Manager’s Guide to Being More Observant and Effective

Hi, I’m Nicola from The People Mentor, and today I want to talk about why being observant is one of the most important skills that a manager can have.

Are you aware of what’s going on around you in your business, or do you just push on with the next task, next meeting, email, or conversation?

While it’s great that you have your eye on your goals and what you need to accomplish that day or week, not paying attention to how what you say and do is perceived by your team can mean that you’re missing a trick. 

Consider this example. Your business is about to start an exciting project for a new client, and you have a meeting with your team to discuss it. Your team members are upbeat and looking forward to the challenge, but they also voice some concerns about some aspects of the project. 

You don’t think that the concerns are that important, and you tell them everything will be fine, and move quickly on to another thing that you want to discuss. You dominate most of the discussion, and little by little, your team stop offering their opinions. They start to check their phones or appear bored, but you don’t notice. 

An observant manager would have noticed people disengaging, and they would have done something about it. Instead, the team’s opinions weren’t taken on board, the manager lost the opportunity to hear possibly crucial information, and people went away feeling demoralised. 

Now, the chances are, that your team will expect you to disregard how they feel all of the time, so they won’t be so willing to offer ideas and opinions, and this will affect the way they feel about you. 

If you want to avoid this sort of situation, you have to develop your skills of observation.

You need to see what is going on around you, learn from it, and use what you’ve observed to build better relationships with people and make better decisions. 

To be a more observant manager, you have to:

Get into the habit of observing others 

Learn to see the world as it is, not just through the veil of your thoughts, beliefs, and perspective

Ask more questions

Learn to listen

Learn to put your biases aside 

Take other people’s ideas and suggestions on board 

Get comfortable with considering new possibilities 

Get to know yourself and how your words and actions impact on others 

Now here are some practical things you can try to improve your powers of observation. 

Quieten the chatter of your mind and just notice. Look around you, listen, watch people’s body language, or listen to someone’s tone of voice. All of these can provide clues to what’s really going on as opposed to what you think is going on. 

Whenever you want to get a message across, whether it’s verbally, or via an email or memo, take time to be aware of how you come across, and ask your team for feedback on it. 

It’s also important to remember that a lack of communication or feedback from your team is also a kind of feedback. If you’ve asked for their opinion on something and they haven’t given it, does this mean that they think they won’t be listened to, or they just don’t care enough to respond? 

Whatever you’re discussing or working on in the business, remember that people are always going to have different opinions, preferences, and ways of communicating.

Part of being observant is realising this, but also identifying how you can harness the best attributes and skills of everyone involved to achieve the business goals.

When it comes to observation, knowledge is power, and a great way to enhance your knowledge of how to get the best out of the different personalities in your team is by carrying out a DISC personality assessment. 

All of my consulting packages incorporate DISC and I also run a one-hour DISC information session where we look at what DISC is and how you can use it in your business to create a more harmonious workplace, grow your business, and build a more secure future. I’ll be giving you my contact details at the end of this podcast if you’d like to contact me about my DISC sessions. 

Now lastly, think about how observant you are.

Remember the last conversation you had with one of your team members?

Can you remember what the discussion was about?

What was their body language and tone of voice telling you?

What was the outcome of the discussion, was it satisfactory for everyone concerned?

Trying to remember details like this will give you an indication of how observant you really are and what you need to work on. 

An observant leader is an effective leader.

Being observant means that you’ll be able to interact with, and respond to, everyone around you. You’ll make better decisions, you’ll be better informed, and you’ll not miss crucial details that you might have missed if you’d taken your usual full steam ahead/tunnel vision approach. 

Do you need help with business or people issues?

You just want to get on with doing what you love, but do you spend most of your days firefighting?

Are there issues in your business that you can’t seem to get a handle on?

Is there a lack of harmony in your team?

All of these can affect productivity, morale, and business growth.

You’re a competent and savvy business owner, but not everyone has all the answers. I have the expertise you need.

I have over 30 years of experience in leading teams and I know how it feels when there’s a lack of harmony that’s harming your business growth. 

I can give you and your team the tools and training you need to create a more harmonious, positive, and collaborative working environment, so that your future, as well as your present, is a lot happier and more comfortable. 

I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, and I know that no problem is insurmountable when you have the right support. Contact me to find out exactly how I can help you.

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