Some companies are bringing their employees back to the office. But not all of them are seeing the cohesion and collaboration that existed before the pandemic. In fact, many companies are seeing a counterintuitive trend of employees feeling less connected now that they are physically back in the office.

According to leadership expert and keynote speaker, Julie Winkle Giulioni, moving into this new phase of office re-openings requires a new approach. While leaders should prioritize communication and transparency, they should also focus on listening. And not just any kind of listening, says Giulioni. During times of transition, leaders should listen with the intention to connect.

If you are working on plans to bring your sales reps back to the office or you have already re-opened, read on. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Giulioni’s best ways to listen when your team is going through significant change.

Connect with individuals. The past year has been heavy in more ways than one. Leaders can move toward some semblance of normalcy by listening to their employees with empathy and curiosity. Remember that employees have always wanted to feel seen and heard, and they need this more than ever as they return to the workplace, says Giulioni.

Connect people with other people. Sales reps are typically naturally social people. After a year of remote meetings with colleagues and clients, they could benefit from some new opportunities to reestablish their interpersonal skills. According to Guilioni, people benefit from a leader who listens with an ear toward finding ways to build bridges, collaboration and relationships within teams.

Connect ideas. The pandemic has led many employees to live in survival mode, notes Giulioni. They have focused their time and energy on taking care of what’s in front of them. Few have had a chance to consider how things fit into the big picture. In these times of transition, leaders can listen for how ideas, solutions and initiatives can work both for the team and clients.

Connect people with ideas. Another way leaders can listen better through times of transition is to listen for ways to bring people and ideas together. This might mean rallying support for organizational change or it might be individual, like helping a sales rep pursue a specific learning goal, says Giulioni.

So how can leaders use the techniques above? According to Giulioni, leaders should be passionate about surfacing information and issues that lead to greater connection. Leaders must also be present by staying attentive and focused in the moment. This allows them to communicate value and respect to others and gives them the widest access to messages being shared and their potential value. And lastly, leaders should be proactive, says Giulioni. They should be ready to not just hear what their employees are saying but prepared to take action and advance ideas.

You may experience some choppiness as your sales reps return to the workplace. With intentional listening, you can help smooth the process and navigate the way forward.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Julie Winkle Giulioni helps organizations enhance learning, engagement, retention and the bottom line through keynotes, facilitated sessions and custom training. She has been named one of Inc. magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers.