7 Ways to Develop Critical Thinking Skills as a Manager

7 Ways to Develop Critical Thinking Skills as a Manager

Critical thinking is the ability to think logically and analytically and make sound decisions. It is the ability to think about problems through an objective lens and develop practical solutions. Further, it allows you to look at matters from an intellectual standpoint and consider other aspects of situations without being hindered by emotion. Critical thinking is a skill that grows on you, just like any other skill, as it can’t be taught in a day or two. It requires time, development, and practice to master. These skills are at an all-time high, especially for business professionals, as they can mean the difference between success and failure. Critical thinking is essential for managers because it allows them to make informed decisions and solve challenging problems. To think critically, you need to identify the assumptions you are making and question them. You also need to come up with alternative solutions and understand the consequences of your decisions. By learning how to think critically, you will be better prepared to face any challenges you may face as a manager. Critical thinking is also essential for professionals in other fields, such as scientists, researchers, and engineers, who need to be able to think critically to develop new ideas and solve problems.

Who are Critical Thinkers?

  • Assess Information: Critical thinkers can critically assess and analyze information from various sources. They evaluate the credibility, relevance, and accuracy of data and arguments.
  • Identify Assumptions: They have the ability to recognize underlying assumptions, biases, and preconceptions in information or arguments. This skill allows them to see beyond surface-level statements.
  • Recognize Patterns: Critical thinkers can identify patterns, trends, and relationships within data or complex situations. They connect pieces of information to form a coherent understanding.
  • Analyze Arguments: They can dissect and evaluate the strength and weaknesses of arguments. This involves assessing the use of evidence, logic, and reasoning in support of a claim.
  • Synthesize Information: Critical thinkers can synthesize disparate information and ideas to form a comprehensive view. They combine information to draw insightful conclusions.
Understand more with the help of examples: 5 Critical Thinking Examples In The Workplace To Become A Better Manager

The basics of critical thinking: what does it involve?

Recognizing when you need to think critically

Critical thinking is a process of analyzing and interpreting information in order to come to a reasoned conclusion. Its first requirement is to recognize when you’re in a situation where you need to think critically. This means staying aware of your surroundings, paying attention to the facts, and thinking through your options. It’s important to be able to think critically not only when you’re faced with challenges but in many other aspects of a managerial position. By recognizing when you need to think critically, and applying the skills when required, you can make better decisions that will lead to the success you desire.

Questioning your assumptions

Critical thinking goes beyond simply accepting what you’re told or what you think without questioning it. It’s about being able to interrogate your thoughts and assumptions to identify and evaluate the evidence. It is a way of thinking that requires you to be open-minded and to question everything that you think you know. It involves suspending your judgment and investigating the evidence. When you’re engaging in critical thinking, you’re looking at things from all angles and considering all the possible implications of an issue.

Looking for alternatives

To be a well-rounded critical thinker, you need to be able to look at a problem from multiple angles and explore all the possible solutions. It helps us think outside the box and develop new, innovative ideas. It involves looking for alternatives, considering all the angles, and coming to a reasoned conclusion. By considering options, you can figure out the best course of action in any situation and make sound decisions that will benefit you and your business.

Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of arguments

Critical thinking also involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of arguments and finding the best solution or path that considers all the relevant factors. You must do this to make a well-informed decision or refute an argument. It involves assessing all the relevant information and determining which points are valid and not. You need to be able to reason logically and critically to come to a sound conclusion. Read more: Critical Thinking vs Analytical Thinking: What’s the Difference?

Why is critical thinking important for managers?

Objective decision making

Critical thinking is an essential skill for managers as it leads to objective decision-making. It helps managers remain objective when considering different perspectives on a situation, which is vital when making informed decisions. You can evaluate information and conclude based on facts and not personal biases with critical thinking. It allows you to make objective decisions that will be sound and help your organization grow and succeed.  Read more: Critical thinking strategies for better decision making in the workplace

More efficient and effective problem solving

Critical thinking is essential for managers to be effective problem solvers. When you can think critically, you can recognize and address potential problems early on, which leads to more efficient and effective problem-solving. It is essential to tackle complex or difficult challenges, as it will help you avoid costly mistakes and stay ahead of the curve. By adopting a cognitive process known as “critical thinking,” managers can identify and analyze problems, come up with solutions, and put those solutions into action. 

Improved judgment

Critical thinking is a process of identifying, assessing, and resolving problems. It is one of the essential skills managers need to have, leading to improved judgment. Critical thinking skills can improve your judgment by providing an objective perspective on tough decisions, enabling you to make more intelligent and responsible choices. When it comes to making independent judgments about a problem or decision, critical thinking can help improve performance in logical reasoning, articulation, communication skills, and emotional self-control.

Greater creativity and innovation

A critical thinking approach is an essential ingredient of creativity and innovation. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, and it’s essential for creativity and innovation. To be creative, you need to be able to come up with new ideas and to be innovative, you need to be able to put those ideas into action. Critical thinking allows you to do both of those things. When you’re critical thinking, you’re analyzing information and looking for ways to improve it. You’re questioning assumptions and evaluating evidence. You’re looking for solutions to problems. And all of that leads to creativity and innovation.

Enhanced understanding of oneself and others

Critical thinking turns observations and experiences into thoughtful insights that allow you to make better decisions. As a manager, you must develop a strong foundation for thinking skills to better understand yourself and your team. This understanding can help you identify potential problems earlier and devise strategies to overcome them. Additionally, critical thinking skills help you see the world from a different perspective, which can help you connect with others more meaningfully. This understanding is essential because managers can make or break a company’s growth. Nonetheless, there can be some critical thinking barriers on your path which can weaken your game. Read more here about the common critical thinking barriers so that you can avoid these typical challenges of managers: 6 Steps to Beat Common Critical Thinking Barriers at Work

How to develop critical thinking skills as a manager?

Evaluate your decision-making process and understand how you make decisions

To develop your critical thinking skills as a manager, you need to evaluate your decision-making process and understand how you make decisions. By doing this, you will become better equipped to make sound and informed choices in any situation. It will better prepare you to recognize biases and understand why people may have different opinions. Understanding how you make decisions will help you learn to catch yourself when feelings and self-doubt influence your choices. Letting emotions take control of decision-making undermines critical thinking skills and can lead to poor personal or professional outcomes.

Ask questions and challenge your assumptions

Critical thinking is all about questioning your assumptions and creating alternate solutions. To develop your necessary thinking skills, ask questions and challenge your assumptions. For example, imagine that you’re the manager of a sales team. You assume that your top performer is a high-energy person, so you give her more challenging assignments. However, if you question your assumption and talk to your top performer, you might find out that even though she performed well earlier, the excess workload is leading her to burnout, something you would like to avoid at all costs. By asking questions and challenging your assumptions, you can more accurately make your decisions. These decisions will then be comparatively low risk and have better potential. Furthermore, by asking questions, you are more likely to find the answers that will enable you to analyze each problem on an objective level. This process promotes critical thinking skills because it develops a search for new information or different perspectives that ultimately leads us in one direction: the right path. Find free ideas to get started here: 10+ Critical Thinking Questions Every Manager Needs to Probe

Being aware of how your thoughts can bias your judgments

If your emotions bias your thoughts, it can impair your critical thinking. To develop your necessary thinking skills as a manager, you need to know how your thoughts can prejudice your judgments. It means being aware of the factors that can influence your thinking and the impact that your thoughts have on your behavior. By becoming more aware of how you think, you can better manage your emotions and improve the quality of your judgments.

Find ways to verify the information before taking action or forming opinions

To hone your critical thinking skills, look for ways to verify the information before taking action or forming opinions. It means doing your due diligence and investigating all the available sources of information before making any decisions. It involves asking the right questions, looking for evidence, and thinking about different perspectives. As a result, you will be able to make more informed decisions in your everyday life and protect yourself from making mistakes that could have long-term consequences. More importantly, you will be able to think and make decisions more quickly.

Take and incorporate multiple perspectives

Different people have different ways of approaching things, and they can come up with varying answers to the same question or suggest additional options to tackle something. To develop your critical thinking skills, you need to take and incorporate these multiple perspectives. When you do this, you will be able to break down complex topics into more manageable pieces and identify any flaws or loopholes in arguments. Additionally, by taking different perspectives on issues, you will be able to widen your range of knowledge and gain a better understanding of the issue at hand. Hence, you will make informed decisions that reflect your values and beliefs.

Evaluate evidence critically to reach a decision

To effectively develop your critical thinking skills as a manager, you also need to evaluate the evidence critically to arrive at a decision. When assessing the evidence, consider the source, how credible the source is, how well the information is presented, and how relevant the information is to your decision. By evaluating the evidence critically, you can improve your decision-making skills and make better choices in life. Doing this will also allow you to defend your decisions in the future.

Be transparent about your thinking process so that others can critique it constructively

The final step towards developing your critical thinking skills as a manager is transparency about how you think. Doing this will allow your team members to critique your thinking constructively. Moreover, it will enable you to identify and correct any flaws in your thinking and ensure that you construct a valid argument. They can help you refine your review and develop even better ideas. Being open and transparent with your team is the best will build trust and respect and foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. Further, you can improve your decision-making skills and build a strong foundation for practical problem-solving by regularly reflecting on your thinking process. It will ultimately ensure that you are on the right path to developing the proper critical thinking skills.

Practicing Critical Thinking as a Manager

The steps mentioned above will be enough for managers to develop sound critical thinking skills. But when to practice this critical thinking? There are certain times when practicing critical thinking is essential, and there are also certain times when thinking critically can have some negative repercussions. Below are some tips on when to practice critical thinking and when not to:

When should you use it?

  • When making a difficult or complex decision
  • When you have conflicting information
  • At the time of uncertainty
  • When you are dealing with stakeholders
  • When you need to evaluate the impact of your decisions
  • At times, when you are trying to understand complex systems
  • When you have to defend your ideas
  • Whenever you need to be impartial
  • Whenever you are confronted with new ideas
  • At times when you need to think beyond the traditional thinking patterns
Jump here to understand your learning journey toward strong critical thinking skills: Pave Your Path To Success With Critical Thinking Training In 5 Easy Steps


As managers, we must learn to think critically and solve problems effectively. We can then take charge of our destinies and create a brighter future for ourselves and our teams. This blog outlined the basics of critical thinking and its importance for managers. We also shared seven practical steps to help you develop your critical thinking skills. Finally, we provided a handy guide on when to practice critical thinking in your managerial role. We believe that this blog has provided you with all the insights and information that you need to develop critical thinking skills. Now it’s up to you to give it a try.

Grab the active listening toolkit today to sharpen your critical thinking sills

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5 Creative Expectation Setting Activity For All Managers

5 Creative Expectation Setting Activity For All Managers

As a manager, it’s essential to set clear expectations with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals. But setting expectations can be easier said than done, especially when dealing with diverse employees with varying skill sets and personalities. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of expectation setting in the workplace and provide examples of what managers should expect from their team members and what employees should expect from their managers. We’ve also included effective expectation setting activity to help you set expectations collaboratively and engagingly. Finally, we’ll provide tips for effective expectation setting to help you and your team succeed.

What is Expectation Setting?

Have you ever been to a soccer game? If yes, have you seen how, before the game starts, the coach tells the players the strategy, who is supposed to defend and attack, and what the goal is? This helps the player know what to do and how to play to win the match.
The role of a manager is similar to that of a coach regarding expectation setting. Managers are responsible for telling the team what to do, the deadlines, and how the project should look. This way, everyone understands what’s expected, and they can work together effectively. Expectation setting is like creating a roadmap to success, showing the path with do’s and don’ts.

Why is Expectation Setting important for Managers?

Expectation setting is crucial for managers because it creates clarity, reduces confusion, and boosts team productivity. When managers clearly define goals, roles, and deadlines, team members know what’s expected of them. This clarity prevents misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page, leading to smoother workflow and better results.
Imagine planning a road trip without a map or directions. Expectation setting provides that roadmap for employees. It helps them understand the destination (goals) and the route (tasks) to reach there. Managers who set clear expectations empower their teams to work more confidently, fostering a positive work environment and enhancing overall team performance.

Examples of Expectations in the Workplace

Before working on setting expectations, let us begin with understanding forms of expectations in the workplace. Then, here are some examples to help you understand these expectations in a better way.

Expectations of managers from employees:

  • Meeting deadlines and delivering high-quality work
  • Being proactive and taking initiative
  • Being accountable for their actions and decisions
  • Demonstrating good communication and teamwork skills
  • Continuously learning and developing their skills
  • Representing the company in a positive manner

Employee’s expectations from managers:

Team expectations:

  • Communicating effectively and openly with each other
  • Working collaboratively to achieve team goals
  • Being reliable and accountable to each other
  • Being respectful and supportive of each other
  • Being open to feedback and willing to learn from mistakes
  • Celebrating successes and recognizing contributions

5 Fun and Effective Expectation Setting Activity for Managers

#1 Role-playing Exercises

In this expectation setting activity, managers can create scenarios that represent everyday workplace situations, such as dealing with an upset customer, addressing a conflict with a coworker, or delivering a presentation to a client. Then, employees can act out the scenario and discuss how they could have handled it differently. For example, when an employee is dealing with an upset customer, the employee can practice active listening and problem-solving skills while demonstrating empathy toward the customer. Find more: Role Play Training at Work: 7 Effective Tips + Sample Situations

#2 Collaborative Goal-Setting

This expectation setting activity involves setting individual and team goals together. The manager can facilitate a team meeting where employees discuss their strengths and areas of improvement and then identify goals that align with the team’s objectives. For example, a team of sales representatives may set a goal to increase sales by 10% in the next quarter. This activity encourages collaboration and ensures everyone works towards the same objectives. Read more: Collaborative goal-setting: How to achieve team success?

#3 Strengths-based Exercises

In this expectation setting activity, employees identify their strengths and discuss how they can use those strengths to benefit the team. For example, an employee who excels in analytical thinking can use their skills to analyze data and provide insights to the team. In contrast, employees who excel in relationship-building can use their skills to strengthen relationships with clients and stakeholders. This activity helps employees understand their unique contributions and how to use their strengths to achieve team goals.

#4 “Expectation Pyramid” activity

This activity involves creating a visual “expectation pyramid” that outlines the expectations for employees at each level of the organization. For example, there may be expectations for punctuality and attendance at the base of the pyramid. At the same time, there may be expectations for leadership, decision-making, and strategic thinking at higher levels. Employees can work together to identify the expectations for each level and discuss how to meet and exceed them.

#5 360-degree feedback

In this expectation setting activity, employees receive feedback from their peers, subordinates, and superiors. This feedback can help employees understand how others perceive them and set expectations for areas where they need to improve. For example, an employee may receive feedback that they need to improve their communication skills or their ability to work collaboratively with others. In addition, this activity promotes a culture of openness and transparency and encourages employees to work together to achieve common goals. By the way, 360 degree feedback becomes easier with the help of AI. Check out the range of leadership skill assessments by Risely to get feedback from your team on your core skills as a manager.

Effective Expectation Setting Template for a Manager (Free)

As a manager, setting clear expectations for your team members is essential. And effective expectation setting is crucial for creating a positive work environment, fostering teamwork, and achieving organizational objectives. The following tips make a great expectation setting template which can help managers set clear, achievable expectations that motivate and inspire employees to perform at their best.
  1. Be clear and specific: When setting expectations, it’s essential to be clear and specific about what is expected of employees. This includes outlining goals, deadlines, and the level of quality expected.
  2. Communicate expectations clearly: Managers should communicate expectations clearly to employees in an easily understandable way. They should also be available to answer any questions and provide clarification.
  3. Be realistic: Expectations should be realistic and achievable. Setting unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration, burnout, and decreased employee morale.
  4. Feedback: Managers should provide regular feedback to employees to ensure they meet expectations. This can include positive feedback to reinforce good performance and constructive feedback to address areas where improvement is needed.
  5. Be consistent: Expectations should be consistent across all employees to ensure fairness and avoid confusion. Managers should also consistently enforce expectations and address deviations from them.
  6. Involve employees in the process: Involving them in the expectation setting process can help ensure they are invested in and committed to achieving the goals. This can also help identify potential roadblocks and ensure everyone works towards the same objectives.
  7. Celebrate success: When employees meet or exceed expectations, managers should recognize and celebrate their achievements. This helps reinforce positive behavior and motivates employees to continue performing at a high level.


Expectation setting is a crucial part of effective management. It sets the tone for what you expect from your team and what they can expect from you. Establishing clear expectations allows everyone to work together towards common goals and objectives. The expectation setting activity mentioned above are fun and highly effective in setting expectations that align with your team’s goals. Remember to keep communication open and revisit the expectations regularly to adjust as needed. As a manager, investing time in expectation setting is crucial to help your team grow and succeed.

Can you set the right expectations for your team?

Find out now with the help of a free expectation setting assessment for managers and leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of setting expectations?

An example of setting expectations is communicating the goals and objectives for a project or task. This involves discussing deadlines and timelines for completing work, defining roles and responsibilities for team members, and establishing key performance indicators. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions ensure that expectations are met, allowing for adjustments to keep everyone on track toward achieving the desired outcomes. Setting clear expectations is crucial for ensuring a successful product and maintaining accountability.

What is expectation setting?

Expectation setting establishes clear, specific, and realistic goals for employees or team members. This involves communicating what is expected of them regarding performance, behavior, and results. Effective expectation setting can increase productivity, job satisfaction, and morale. It is essential for managers to regularly review and adjust expectations to ensure they align with changing circumstances, such as organizational changes or individual employee needs. This can help ensure everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives.

How do you set expectations in training?

To set expectations in training, it is essential to communicate the goals and objectives of the program, as well as provide a detailed outline of the training schedule and curriculum. Setting realistic expectations for trainees based on their skill level and experience is also crucial. Encouraging open communication and feedback throughout the training process can help ensure everyone is on the same page and that any concerns or questions are promptly addressed. By setting clear expectations from the outset, you can maximize the effectiveness of your training program and ensure that everyone involved has a positive experience.

What are some examples of expectations?

Examples of expectations include meeting project deadlines, being punctual, and communicating regularly with team members. In a job setting, expectations may also have specific duties or responsibilities that must be fulfilled. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate expectations to employees clearly to reduce confusion or misunderstandings. In addition, regularly revisiting and updating expectations can ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

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10+ Active Listening Exercises to Master the Skill at Work

10+ Active Listening Exercises to Master the Skill at Work

“Communication” is a big word, and for a good reason. It encompasses every aspect of our lives – from listening to understanding and everything in between. Communication is all about listening to what people say and reflecting on it to them in a way that facilitates learning and connection. Listening well supports communication, which we do when seeking mutual understanding with another person – whether it’s listening to their words and reflecting them to them or listening to their body language and cues and responding accordingly. It’s a skill that spans communication on an interpersonal level up to international diplomacy. In this blog, we will discuss active listening exercises that can help you improve your listening skills at work.

What Is Active Listening?

Active listening is a soft skill that involves paying attention and understanding what someone is saying without passing judgment. In workplaces, active listening skills are essential for building good relationships between colleagues and creating effective teamwork. In addition, it helps build trust between people and improves communication, benefiting everyone involved.  The three principles of active listening are: –
  • Paying Attention: This means giving the speaker total mental and physical attention. It involves actively listening to the speaker’s words, observing their body language, and minimizing distractions.
  • Showing Understanding: This means demonstrating that you understand the speaker’s perspective by reflecting on what they are saying, asking clarifying questions, and acknowledging their feelings.
  • Providing Feedback: This means responding to the speaker’s message with accurate and constructive feedback. It involves summarizing what the speaker said, expressing empathy for their feelings, and providing respectful and constructive feedback.
Check out Why is empathetic listening the key to successful leadership? The positive benefits of active listening are many and varied. Clinical evidence shows it is an effective tool for improving communication skills, building emotional intelligence, and fostering relationships. This helps people develop empathy, attention, and interpersonal skills.
  • Improved Communication: Active listening helps create a more open and honest dialogue. It allows both parties to feel heard and understood, leading to better communication and fewer misunderstandings.
  • Strengthened Relationships: Active listening helps to build stronger relationships by fostering mutual trust, respect, and understanding.
  • Increased Productivity: Active listening can lead to greater efficiency and productivity by reducing the need for clarification, repetition, and follow-up communication.
  • Conflict Resolution: Active listening is an effective tool for resolving conflicts because it helps to identify and address underlying issues, reducing the potential for misunderstandings and miscommunications.
  • Personal Growth: Active listening has been proven to be an effective catalyst for personal development. It promotes personal growth and self-awareness by encouraging individuals to reflect on their communication styles and biases.
Active listening can improve relationships, increase productivity, and promote personal growth, making it a valuable skill in a professional context. The benefits of active listening extend beyond work life and into everyday conversations with family and friends. By actively listening to others without interrupting or passing judgment, one can better understand their perspective and feel connected to them.

Active listening in the Workplace

For working professionals, their work becomes their second home. A place where they spend most of their time of day. This also requires individuals to develop several skills to handle everyday interactions and challenges smoothly. One such skill is that of actively listening. As we all know, communication plays a vital role in all spheres of our lives. And active listening is quite an integral part of communicating effectively.  As discussed above, there are several benefits that one can enjoy if one practices active listening. It becomes essential for managers as it helps improve workplace relationships and reduce stress. A study has found that teaching managers active listening skills improved their ability to support employees with mental health problems. Also, managers who train their employees using active listening exercises become better at actively listening to themselves. Check out Breaking Down the Walls: Understanding 6 Active Listening Barriers.

10+ Active Listening Exercises for Workplaces

Active listening is a vital skill for managers to develop, enabling them to understand their team better, increase productivity, and foster positive relationships. Here are some fun active listening activities managers can use to develop their skills:

The Picture Prompt Exercise

This is a type of active listening exercise where the manager should choose an image or picture and describe it to their team. Based on the manager’s description, the team must then draw or visualize the picture. This exercise helps managers improve their listening skills as they learn to be more descriptive and clear in their communication. In contrast, the team knows to listen more carefully and pay attention to detail.

The Memory Game Exercise

In this active listening exercise for work, the manager should create a list of items and read them aloud to their team. The team must then try to remember the items in the correct order. This exercise helps managers improve their listening skills by practicing their ability to communicate information clearly and concisely. In contrast, the team improves their ability to listen carefully and remember information accurately.

The Role-Playing Exercise

In this exercise, the manager and team members switch roles and act out different scenarios. This exercise helps managers develop their listening skills as they learn to pay attention to the other person’s point of view and perspective while the team learns to communicate more effectively and become better listeners. Risely, the AI coach for leadership development can help you in this exercise as well! With the support of AI bot Merlin, your buddy for growth, you can easily practice scenarios through role-plays, discuss specific situations, and focus on developing particular skills. Just define the position you want to discuss, the moods and tones of the people involved, and get started. Catch a snippet below and sign up for free today to start exploring.

The Active Listening Feedback Exercise

In this active listening exercise, the manager provides feedback on the team member’s active listening skills. The manager should give positive feedback when team members demonstrate good listening skills and constructive feedback when they could improve. This exercise helps managers develop their listening skills by teaching them to identify good listening behaviors while the team members learn to listen more effectively. Check out 10+ Positive Feedback Examples You Need For Your Next Review.

Simon Says

This is one of the classic active listening exercises that involves listening and following instructions. The manager can lead the game by giving commands starting with “Simon Says…” or without it. They’re out if a team member performs an action without the “Simon Says” prompt. This game can be modified to include work-related tasks or challenges, making it fun to practice active listening skills in a work setting.

Two Truths and a Lie

This active listening game for workplace involves listening carefully and identifying the lie. Each team member shares three statements about themselves, and the other team members must determine which statement is false. This game is an excellent way for managers to develop active listening skills by paying attention to details and making connections between the statements.

The Mindfulness Exercise

This is one of the active listening exercises where the manager leads a short mindfulness meditation session in this exercise. The team members should focus on breathing and quieting their minds. This exercise helps managers improve their listening skills by learning to be more present and attentive while the team members learn how to focus their attention and become better listeners. Check out “Why active listening training is crucial for effective leadership?” 

Storytelling Circle

This is one of those active listening exercises where the manager starts telling a story and passes it on to the next team member to continue. The story continues until it comes back to the manager, who concludes it. This game helps managers develop their active listening skills by paying attention to details and making connections between the different parts of the story.

Guess Who

This game involves listening carefully and identifying a person based on their description. The manager describes a person, and the team members must guess who the person is. This game is a fun way for managers to develop their active listening skills by paying attention to details and making connections between the different pieces of information.

Telephone Game

This is one of the active listening exercises that involves listening carefully and passing on information. The manager can start by whispering a sentence to the first team member, who then whispers it to the next team member, and so on. The last team member says the sentence out loud, and the group compares it to the original sentence. This game is an excellent way for managers to develop their active listening skills by paying attention to the original message’s details and passing them on accurately. Check out “Let’s reflect on reflective listening to become a better listener with 8 tips.”

Listening Journal

Encourage team members to maintain a listening journal for a week. They can write about their experiences in various meetings, conversations, and interactions, highlighting their challenges and any improvements they observed in their listening skills.

Active Listening Walk

Take the team outside for a walk or find a quiet space indoors. Instruct team members to listen attentively to the sounds around them and note as many different sounds as they can identify during a set period (e.g., 5 minutes). Reconvene and share their experiences, discussing the importance of mindful listening in understanding the environment and colleagues’ perspectives.

Resource Buckets for you!

Do you wish to check your communication skills as a manager? Try out our free active listening skill assessment now. We also have several other free assessments that help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a manager.


This blog gave you several fun, interactive active listening exercises that would directly assist you and your team members in improving your active listening skills. These active listening exercises can be applied to whichever field you are in and make you a master in listening actively and, subsequently, a master in communicating. As you have read, active listening exercises are not difficult to do or something that would require many resources. You just need your team with you and some dedicated time to try to listen more actively. Not only would these activities help in improving listening skills, but they also become a great way of team bonding. You’ll be amazed how these simple exercises will make you much better at listening once you put them into practice, and the more you practice, the better you become. 

Grab free expert-curated resources to master active listening

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Why is active listening important in the workplace?

Active listening is a crucial skill in the workplace that enables managers and team members to understand each other’s perspectives and needs. It promotes a positive work environment, fosters better communication, and increases productivity and effective conflict resolution. Additionally, it enhances leadership skills by building stronger relationships and motivating teams to achieve organizational goals.

How can I test my active listening skills?

Testing your active listening skills involves reflection, paraphrasing, asking questions, seeking feedback, and summarizing key points. Regularly practicing these skills can improve your ability to listen a0ctively and communicate effectively. Another quick and efficient way to check active listening skills would be using Risely’s free self-assessments. Try our active listening self-assessment to understand how good you are at being an active listener.

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Top 4 powerful lessons for Managers from Radical Candor

Top 4 powerful lessons for Managers from Radical Candor

Working in a team can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. As a manager, you must communicate with your team effectively and build trust so everyone can work together effectively. However, building trust can be difficult when emotions are running high. That’s where Radical Candor comes in – an open, honest, and candid communication style. By using the lessons from radical candor in your team, you can build trust and ensure that team members work together effectively. This blog post outlines the top four lessons for managers from the book Radical Candor.

What is Radical Candor?

Radical Candor is a book by Kim Scott, a former executive of Google and Apple. The book talks about developing an effective yet simultaneously humane leadership style. In the quest to fill the shoes of a leadership role, we often move towards some common pitfalls that prevent us from creating healthy team cohesiveness around us. This book intervenes and helps us develop a leadership style based on a highly open feedback system. It offers practical lessons for managers. Radical candor is a technique that allows employees to be open and honest with each other. Managers need to be ready to listen when their employees share candid insights. However, there are potential risks associated with being too direct. If done incorrectly, it can damage relationships and cause tension. Radical candor aims to create a climate of trust and collaboration. Primarily, it is an antidote against toxic company cultures that can kill. Doing it correctly can lead to a more productive and satisfied workforce. So, be prepared to give and sincerely receive feedback, and you’ll be on your way to success!

Top 4 lessons for Managers from Radical Candor

Radical candor is a powerful communication style that can help managers identify and solve problems early on. By opening up dialogue, managers can improve team morale and communication. Further, Radical Candor can lead to better decision-making and improved confidence in the workplace. As a team manager, it’s essential to be aware of the potential benefits of judiciously using Radical Candor. Doing so can help your team work smarter and achieve more remarkable results. The top lessons for managers from radical candor are

Be honest & open

As a manager or leader, it is essential to be honest without hurting people. Honest communication can become your panacea to miscommunication and consequent strife. In order to do this, adopt a style of open and direct contact. In the absence of honest communication, misunderstandings can fester. However, even after knowing this, managers continue to be dishonest with their employees. They often sugarcoat criticism and offer similar feedback to everyone without going into specific good or bad areas. This is problematic as it defeats the purpose of detailed feedback and provides no basis upon which they can make improvements. Therefore, it becomes necessary to overcome the fear of offending people through your words. Your care for the person can prevent you from helping them achieve their potential as an employee. Insincerity as a manager can be a dangerous thing. Consequently, it would be best if you noted to remain honest with your employees and peers.

Be collaborative with your team

Collaboration has to become your mantra when you are leading a team. You cannot handle things single-handedly. Instead, delegation and division of duties become your go-to way to get work done. Collaboration brings twin benefits for you. Firstly, it frees your shoulders and lets you focus on critical tasks. Secondly, it keeps employees involved and engaged and makes them feel like a part of the process rather than merely a means to an end. Methods of work that focus on combined and collective efforts are more efficient than those depending solely on one or two persons. In addition, it strengthens team spirit and cohesion. A spirit of collaboration gets your work done better than confrontation. Ultimatums are a type of communication that can often backfire. They put people in an awkward position, as they must choose between following your orders or fulfilling their values. Instead, try to devise solutions that meet the employee’s needs and respect your authority as a manager. You can take several practical steps to infuse the spirit of collaboration in your leadership style. This can begin with small steps like discussions and deliberations involving everyone before decision-making.

Understand your employees

Understanding who your employees are and what aspirations they hold is crucial for any manager. Through this, you can understand their motivations and interests in work. When you know their goals and motivations, you can make a real effort to support them in achieving those. Ultimately, this will help you build a community of employees who feel valued and lovingly do their best for your team without coercion. One of the best ways to make a community with employees is by listening to their thoughts with an open mind. Understanding their future vision will help you align their development with that of your team. When you truly listen, you can pick up on what they’re trying to say. This might not be easy when our thoughts overtake us, but it’s crucial for effective communication. Focusing on what people are saying and not just how they say it will go a long way in building trust and camaraderie between managers and their team members.

Focus on feedback

Lastly and most importantly, Radical Candor is all about feedback. Your leadership style has to have open communication as one of its key tenants for you to get rid of toxic company culture. While discussing leadership, Scott highlights three key behaviors that prevent managers from succeeding at their job. The three behaviors are detrimental to team-building activities. Obnoxious aggression involves brutal honesty that hurts people. This happens in the absence of care for the individual in particular. Instead, they are just offered a challenge from their management. Ruinous empathy is the opposite situation. The managers care for the person enough not to challenge them directly. Unfortunately, this is coupled with insincere feedback and an absence of due criticism that can help in improvement. Manipulative insincerity, the third behavior, happens in the lack of care and challenge. In this, the manager does not provide anything to support the employees’ growth. You can read more about providing constructive feedback here. Moreover, you can also check out some examples of positive feedback that managers can give.
The best way to keep superstars happy is to challenge them and make sure they are constantly learning.Radical Candor, Kim Scott
Management is all about maintaining a delicate balance. Radical candor happens when both the elements – care and challenge – are balanced and served in appropriate measures. Managers should strive for this: They care for their employees but do not hesitate to offer them challenges when the team needs them. Relevant feedback can be the critical driving force toward a company culture that is healthy and supportive of its employees. You can apply these lessons as managers, especially in the area of providing feedback to gain improvements in overall performance and productivity.

The benefits of Radical Candor in the Workplace

Radical candor is a powerful management tool that has many benefits. It’s been proven to be an effective way of improving communication, morale, and productivity. It offers pragmatic lessons for managers. Being effective with radical candor is to be clear about your expectations. When miscommunication occurs, addressing it head-on rather than keeping things hidden is essential. This builds trust and confidence between manager and employee, which is necessary for a healthy workplace. Make sure you are upfront about how you want the conversation to go, and be honest about what’s okay and what isn’t. Setting boundaries will help prevent situations from becoming too sensitive or damaging. Another significant benefit of using Radical Candor is that it can lead to more open discussions. Employees who feel comfortable disclosing their thoughts and feelings are more likely to develop new ideas and solutions. This creates a more robust workforce that can handle challenges head-on. In short, Radical Candor can lead to improved communication, more productive teams, and a stronger relationship between manager and employee. However, it’s essential to be aware of the risks of being too candid. If done incorrectly, it can damage relationships and cause tension. Use Radical Candor appropriately so that it benefits both you and your team! Being transparent with employees about what’s happening in the organization builds trust and credibility, which is key to a productive team. So, next time you have a difficult conversation, don’t hesitate to try radical candor – it might just be the best decision you ever make!


There’s no denying that Radical Candor can be a challenge for managers. However, the benefits of this approach are clear: employees feel more comfortable discussing issues and problems, and team morale and productivity improve as a result. The key is to ensure that feedback is delivered in a constructive and meaningful way. Following these tips can help your team thrive under the pressure of daily hustle. If you’re still unsure whether Radical Candor is the right approach for your team, read through our top four lessons for managers to better understand this approach’s benefits.

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How To Build A Rapport With Team members: 8 Effective Tips

How To Build A Rapport With Team members: 8 Effective Tips

Everyone is fired up to be a manager, but not all future managers are able to lead and inspire their teams correctly. The main reason for this is that managers simply don’t know the secrets of building strong team rapport. Their lack of knowledge can lead to disappointment and lack of performance, especially amongst the most crucial relationships of the organization. Understanding how to build a rapport with your team can help you become a better manager.

What does it mean to build a rapport with the team?

A rapport is a relationship of mutual trust and understanding for the long term. It’s how you create a connection with another person, and it’s the first step in developing a relationship. Rapport is the ability to connect with someone on a personal level. It is the feeling of being understood and having common ground. When you build rapport with someone, you can create a connection that goes beyond the surface. You can see them for who they are and understand their motivations. Rapport is the establishment of a connection or understanding between people. To build rapport with someone, you need to be able to understand their point of view and connect with them on a personal level. It is a step up towards building great relationships with your employees and boosting their morale. For managers, building rapport with team members refers to their ability to connect securely with their team members and gain mutual understanding. It also refers to managers coming out as helpful and supportive towards the people on their team. When managers can build trust, understanding, connections, and a healthy relationship with their employees, that is what building a rapport is. This process of building team rapport is a bit time taking but is highly important for having a healthy relationship with your team. The next section of this blog post will enlighten you more about the importance of building a rapport with your team.

Why should managers care to build a rapport with their team?

Rapport is key to success in any type of relationship, personal or professional. It’s what allows people to trust others, to feel comfortable around them, and to be open and honest with them. When we have a rapport with someone, we feel like we can be ourselves around them. A good rapport between a manager and their employees can be the key to a successful and productive work environment. Managers who take the time to develop a good rapport with their employees are seen as more approachable, which can encourage employees to come to them with suggestions or problems. Additionally, a good rapport can help build trust, which is essential for a healthy work relationship. Managers often forget the importance of rapport-building due to the general mindset that considers it a waste of time. They get so wrapped up in their agenda that they forget to take the time to get to know their team members. But if you want to be successful in your managerial role, you need to be able to build strong relationships with your team members or employees.

Benefits of building a rapport

Taking the time to build a rapport with your subordinate team improves their productivity in the long run. When employees feel like they can trust their manager and open up about their concerns, they are more likely to be productive and cooperative. One study found that when managers took the time to build a rapport with their subordinates, it led to a 20% increase in their work efficiency. They are also more likely to be open to new ideas and suggestions and to be supportive of the manager. So, if you want to be a successful manager, taking the time to build rapport with your team is essential. All these facts and information answer the question of why should a manager build a rapport with their team. But, the next question is How can a manager build a strong rapport with their team? There are 8 secrets in total for achieving that.

8 tips to build a rapport with your team

1. Being approachable and accessible

This is essential and should be done as soon as a new department or team comes into your place of work. A manager should be someone, they can approach without fear of repercussions. Being accessible helps build a rapport with employees as, you will be able to show them that whatever problem they may have or are concerned about, it is never too late for them to discuss their respective issues with you freely and openly. Also, take time out if required whenever someone requests help. A manager should not come out like a boss but as a coworker with mannerisms.

2. Creating a positive work environment

This is an essential step because one of the key reasons why employees don’t engage in productive activities is an inappropriate working environment. That is one of the biggest reasons to build a rapport with the employees. When businesses have a poor working environment, employees become unable to work effectively towards their goals and organizational outcomes decrease. Creating a positive working relationship can make this process easier. The workplace should be good for employees so that they feel comfortable enough to promote productivity within your team as well as your organization. Promoting mannerisms within the workplace can be a good first step in this regard.

3. Encouraging and rewarding good work

Encouraging good work does not happen overnight but it is possible to build a rapport based on positive behaviors. Good and motivated employees are reliable for long-term improvements in all kinds of areas including individual development, organizational capability, customer relationship competence, and effective teamwork. They will accept the authority placed upon them without resistance which shows trust and understanding which are the pillars of building rapport. It enables managers to get maximum productivity from your team while they perform at their best.

4. Build genuine care within the team for each other

Managers should always be caring for their team in all possible ways. Even if it contributes to loss of income or profit. Such actions build a positive bond within the team. That makes everyone feel good about their work environment as well as each other’s performance and efficiency. This adds up to building a strong rapport between the managers and team members.

5. Connect with each individual in your team at a personal level

The best way to build a rapport with your team members is to connect with each individual on a personal level. No matter the size of your company, developing a personal connection with each employee is key to building a strong rapport. When employees feel like they are part of a team and that their work matters, they are more likely to be productive and innovative. Start by getting to know your employees as people, not just workers. Show genuine interest in listening to what their interests are, what they do outside of work (their hobbies), and what drives them.

6. Developing trust with your team

Trust is the main pillar of building a strong rapport in a professional setting. As a manager, you must develop trust with your team to develop a rapport. This will also help them feel comfortable taking risks and speaking up, which will ultimately lead to better work. Building trust is a very crucial step in building a strong rapport. Once team members lose their trust, a strong rapport can never be built. A great way of doing that is by showing empathy and saying clear through your words, body language, or even your facial expressions that you are there for them and you can be trusted.

7. Seek feedback about yourself

Having a common understanding of things is also one of the pillars of building a strong rapport as a manager. You can achieve that by doing active listening to or accepting direct reports of your team members’ feedback about you. When you’ll get your feedback from your employees, you’ll achieve transparency about how your team members are interpreting your inputs. By doing that you can eliminate any possible misinterpretations and achieve a common understanding of roles and responsibilities can be achieved.

8. Listen attentively

One of the best ways to build rapport with your employees is by being attentive and taking them seriously. Make sure you’re following their conversation, not interrupting excessively. Then give clear responses that demonstrate that you understand what they’re saying. When you will listen to them attentively, employees will be motivated to give more input. That will not just build a strong rapport but will have a positive impact on employee engagement.

To wrap things up

Having a good manager is an important factor to enjoy great work and success. But, not every manager will be able to maintain the same level of rapport with their team. It needs that special chemistry, trust, understanding, and connection. That said, we believe that if managers can understand the importance of building a strong rapport with their team members and if they can follow the 8 Important tips that are listed in this blog post, nothing will be able to stop them from building a strong rapport with their team members.

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What does building rapport mean?

Building rapport refers to the process of building trust and relationships between team members and managers. It helps teams come together to collaborate over processes and achieve more things.
– Show interest: Show genuine interest in your team members by asking about their interests, hobbies, and family.
– Communicate effectively: Good communication is key to building rapport in a team. Be clear and concise when giving instructions, and listen actively to what your team members have to say.
– Recognize and celebrate achievements: Celebrate successes and recognize achievements within the team.

What are the key elements in building rapport?

The key elements to building rapport as a team manager are:
– Mutual trust
– Open communication
– Active listening

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