Hotel Management Tips
- The Power of a Good Listener
December 16, 2011
I have been the
President of The Hamister
Group, Inc. - a hotel and healthcare
- for the last 15 years of a 27-year career with the same
One of the most important lessons that I have learned over the years is
importance of good listening skills.
When I speak of “listening skills,” I mean more than just listening
to what is being said. What I really
- Starting with the easy stuff: don't over talk. This
is hard for most people because they are so anxious to tell their
thoughts, recommendations or directions. Not only is this
impolite, but this frequently frustrates the other person who cannot
finish a thought/sentence, which is, of course, important to that
person. Try something like counting to 3 before you speak when
you think the other person is done.
- Next, digest the information being conveyed. Think it
through, apply common sense, and be sure that you really understand
what is being communicated. Listen not just to the words, but
observe body language, facial expressions and the tone of the
voice. What are the other observations telling you? Are you
cross-referencing the words and the visual/audible observations?
What does the total picture say to you?
- After the person has completed whatever it is he or she
want to say and you have fully digested the words and the observations,
pause before you speak. This will give the other person an
opportunity to add, alter, delete or modify something he or she has
said out of emotion, and the pause will allow them to potentially
regroup and clarify something that might need further explanation. It
also provides an opportunity for the other person to complete his or
her thoughts as he or she may have only temporarily stopped because he
or she anticipated that you were going to "interrupt anyway."
This will allow the other person to expend all their energy on
vocalization, be fully prepared to listen to your response, and likely
be a touch more receptive.
- As part of your listening process, write down questions and
points of discussion that you will ask. I know that I've tried to
remember such points during conversations but as I sat and attempted to
recall them, my mind was more focused on what I was eventually going to
say and not as much on what was being said in that moment. That
lack of attention will eventually show through and "disappoint" the
other person: so do yourself the favor of taking notes during the
listening process. In addition, write down the responses to your
questions - it will show that you really care.
- File the documentation strategically within your filing
system so that you maintain your accountability. The worst thing
that you can do is lose track of the conversation and never address the
issue(s) again. You can easily forget to follow up because of the
numerous things you have to do as a manager, but I guarantee that the
other person will not forget. He or she may not say anything about this
and just be disappointed in you and the company.
- You must follow up in some way. Take action, make a
change, ask some questions, or just send an e-mail. As long as
you take a positive step and let the other person know that what was
said had an impact on you and warranted your attention, it will mean so
much. You can't ever measure the full impact.
In closing, the last thing I would like to address as
part of the definition of good listening skills is
confidentiality. I can’t even begin to count the number of
times I’ve seen (heard) a manager talking to others about a
another co-worker or a subordinate. Although
that might even seem like the right thing to do for “management”
believe me, it is not. Over time you
will be labeled and even distrusted.
When you are not trusted by co-workers, your management career will
stall because it takes a long time to rebuild that confidence and
- Finally, at the end of the initial interaction, take a bold
step and commit to the other person what next steps should be
anticipated, and when. The responsibility will rest with you to
ensure that those next steps are completed in a timely manner.
That takes courage, organization, drive, and a terrific work
ethic. If you have those skills, use them. If not, you need
to grow as a manager and develop those skill sets.
I’ve said for the last 20+ years that fine-tuned
listening skills are the most valuable asset that a manager has - I
that way today, and I am continuously working to define and improve my
skills as well.
To communicate with Mr. Turesky - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hamister Group
currently owns and manages 10
hotels, 3 in-patient facilities and 1 home health agency in New York,
Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Please
visit www.hamistergroup.com for