When the time comes to discuss mental well-being with an employee, it’s completely normal for you, as a manager, to be filled with questions:
All these concerns are natural, but remember: your role isn’t to fix their problems. Your goal is to help them feel listened to, understood, and supported..
Active listening involves your full attention; tuning into what the other person is saying, and not waiting for your turn to speak. It also involves putting aside distracting thoughts, and resisting the temptation to interrupt or provide your perspective.
Active listening involves a non-judgmental attitude; understanding the message exactly as it is, without distorting it with your own perceptions, biases, or opinions. When you truly listen, you understand their viewpoint, rather than forming a personal opinion.
Verbal communication can be tricky, particularly when it gets personal or emotional. That’s why it’s essential to understand what the other person is saying instead of trying to fill in the blanks.
To ensure you understand your colleague’s perspective, repeat what they’ve said, but in your own words. For example: “So, I understand that you feel…” Finally, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Asking for clarification shows you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.
A truly empathetic conversation takes place when you are aware of your own feelings. Without this self-awareness, your emotions and biases could negatively affect the conversation.