Risks Of Active Listening

If a person is not sincere with active listening, they may come across as being insincere or a fake. Likewise, when a supervisor listens actively to someone, they run the risk of changing their perspective. To begin to think about a situation from another’s point of view, requires a great deal of self-esteem and security. Most people are accustomed to viewing things in certain ways and see and hear only what they desire.

Finally, a listener’s own emotions can become a barrier to effective listening. It is often difficult to suppress emotions in order to concentrate on what the speaker is saying. Emotions may take the form of defensiveness (feeling threatened); resentment (the speaker does not share our viewpoint); or simply a clash of personalities. Listening and understanding what a person is saying is the most central and important aspect of communication.

The following are techniques for use in improving active listening skills:

  • Ask questions of the speaker.
  • Don’t ignore the speaker. Concentrate on what is being said.
  • Maintain eye contact with the speaker. Use head nods and facial expressions to communicate nonverbally with the speaker.
  • Clarify points with the speaker, such as saying, “Do I understand you correctly, you believe that…?”
  • Seek confirmation from the speaker that you heard what was said.

Common Sense Tips

For security supervisors or officers, it will be a rare security organization where personnel believe that communication is considered good. It seems that most employees feel that communication is poor or even if it is considered adequate, they believe it could be better. Here are some common sense suggestions on improving communication within your security organization whether you are an officer or supervisor:

  1. Have written job descriptions for every position and basic job duties or post orders which are clear and explicit in defining job responsibilities.
  2. Be sure that all procedures are clearly written and updated frequently.
  3. Write all daily communication to security officers in a required reading folder.
  4. Conduct monthly shift or departmental meetings to discuss job issues.
  5. Post memos, bulletins, and other communication from management in the required reading folder.
  6. Security officers should not gossip.
  7. Don’t discuss with another officer, that which someone else shared with you in confidence.
  8. Encourage all security officers to attend companywide employee informational meetings.
  9. Meet privately on a quarterly basis with each security officer reporting to you to review performance in general.
  10. Take a genuine interest in learning more about each officer. Make mental notes on items which are important to each officer. Remind yourself to ask about these items the next time you speak with the officer.