Seattle Community

Jean Scheid
Freelance Business Writer
Austin, Texas
Extraordinarily helpful
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Do Your Employees Listen to You?

As the co-owner of a dealership, I'm constantly inundated with helpful employee how tos but getting my employees to listen to those helpful tips is another story. Here are some suggestions that may help you.
Written Mar 31, 2010, read 8466 times since then.


If you find yourself constantly saying, “My Employees Don’t Listen to Me,” that might be your biggest problem. Do you give them reason to listen to you? Is what you have to say important to them? If you think you’re the end-all, you need to get out of the stone age.

Upper management and business owners need to realize that the days of work first and lifestyle second are over. People now want a job that fits within their lifestyle so you need to orchestrate your staff while keeping that in mind.

If you’re throwing your hands up in the air because Bill is Twittering and Bob is playing solitaire on the Internet all day or Sam won’t promote a discount offer, some of these tips may help: 

  1. Incentives – If you think about it, when you’re using that discount coupon at the store or restaurant, it’s because you’re getting something for that piece of paper. Do you offer incentives to employees to follow procedures? Maybe Sam would promote your discounts if he knew he’d be in on the profits.
  2. Industry Magazines & Journals – No matter what business you’re in, you will receive industry-specific magazines or journals. Do you read them at all yourself or simply throw them in a centralized location and hope one of your employees picks one up? While this may be an old standard, it can work. Have sticky labels made with everyone’s initials and place a space beside their initials to check off after they’ve read the magazine. This doesn’t mean they’ll read it all, but something may catch their eye and that’s better than using the magazine as a coaster.
  3. Control Internet Usage – I didn’t think I could do this but I quickly found out I could. My IT guy was able to install passwords for employees who absolutely needed the Internet for their jobs and keep out the ones who didn’t.
  4. Think Tank – When was the last time you asked for employee input? If it’s been a while or if you’ve never done it, you better start quickly. Use a think tank forum and let everyone in.
  5. Revamp Yourself – No employee respects a boss who yells all day and expects the impossible. If your motto is “Just do what I say,” you need some revamping. If you’re this kind of boss, no one really respects you. Instead of “Do what I say,” think more along the lines of, “What ideas do you have for this process?”
  6. Communicate – Maybe Bob plays solitaire all day because he’s bored and not challenged enough? Or maybe he’s got some home or financial troubles. Listen to your employees and let them know you have an open-door policy. Often, just listening can be the cure.
  7. Keep the Cell Phones – The old fashioned manager still disallows cell phone usage at the office. What if Bill is sending Tweets to prospective customers? Encourage cell phone usage for business social networking because it’s here to stay so take advantage of it.
  8. Praise Them – Employees hate the boss who never recognizes a job well done. If this is you, stop it and give some praise once in a while.
  9. Agile Teams – Build strong teams through Agile Management. The Agile and Lean workforce will find the shortest and most effective way to get the job done.
  10. Take a Day Off – Give your employees play days once in a while. Whether it’s a sport outing or just a day off, they will appreciate it, especially if they don’t know it’s coming. 


If you ask yourself daily, “Why don’t my employees listen to me?” you are doing something wrong. If you try all or a combination of these tips, analyze your people to see if a difference has been made. It’s not hard to get your employees to listen to you, it’s what they fear if they don’t listen to you. Get out of the stone age and brush up on some of your management skills.

Learn more about the author, Jean Scheid.

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