How Listening Contributes To Achieving Results In The NHS

The NHS is a unique place to work in many ways.  One of the ways that it is very different to other organisations is that there are many professionals who are all hugely skilled and committed.  In some respects this should be a real asset.


The trouble is that there is often a lot of tension between different professional groups.  In addition there are also tensions between those in clinical and those in functional and managerial roles.


Now let’s be honest, every organisation needs an element of healthy tension and constructive challenge.  Good communication in large organisations is tough at the best of times.  A particular challenge when it comes to communication is listening.


Yet listening really makes a difference.  In some respects it is a subset of communication that is often under emphasised.  Just about everyone has learned to communicate in writing.  Most have learned to communicate verbally.  Listening on the other hand is a skill that fewer have really learned about.


So how does listening contribute to achieving results in the NHS?


You Get Better Understand Others Points Of View


It is all too easy to assume that we know others points of view.  But do you really understand or just do the minimum to validate your own thinking?  Taking time to really understand others points of view means that when we reach decisions, we at least do so from an informed point of view.


You Get Insights


There are probably things that you think are going well and other things that are not going so well.  When we ask and listen we get insights and probably insights that no report or chart is ever going to give you.


You Get Better Engagement


One of the biggest challenges for anyone in a leadership or management is to get better engagement.  Many staff surveys in the NHS highlight problems with leaders and managers listening.  They either don’t listen or listen but never act. When people are engaged they go the extra mile to deliver to the best of their abilities at a given time.  When disengaged they simply go through the motions and worse still they disconnect completely.


You Get Ideas


Innovation is a big theme for the NHS.  Even if you are the best leader in the NHS, you are limited in your time and ideas.  When you listen to others you get ideas for innovations and improvements.  You can build on these ideas and sometimes can be implemented as suggested.


The Bottom Line:  Listening can make a huge difference to the results you achieve.  So what are you doing to encourage better listening in your organisation?


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