People don’t like being pushed, or even nudged, to do something. So when you need your staff members to take action by listening. Change their behavior, adapt a new strategy and inspire them to commit rather than forcing them to.

The key is to always be listening. Here are three great reasons to tune in to what your staff want to tell you:

  • You’ll get great ideas about things that need to shift in your food truck business when you open up communication.
  • You’ll head off problems early when your employees can tell you without fear or hassle that something in your truck is messed up.
  • You’ll warm up your culture by continually asking for feedback, acknowledging it and acting on it.

Your employees know a lot more about different aspects of your business than you do. In some cases , they even have more impact on the day to day operations of your business than you do.

How To Influence Your Food Truck Staff By Listening

The best way to do this is to listen, without your own needs and biases getting in the way. Try to understand where your employees are coming from. Resist the urge to defend yourself, explain yourself, or offer quick fixes.

You can help more effectively later, when the time is right, if you don’t pre-judge what they need (which might be very different from what you think). Instead, remember that you are listening to learn. Ask questions like: What does that mean for you? How do you feel about it? What’s your perspective on it? This is listening of the highest order.

Avoid These Roadblocks

To be able to motivate and inspire your food truck team, you need to learn how to listen to both individuals and in group environments. You have to put listening at the top of your to-do list and acknowledge it’s a skill that’s important in your role as a food truck owner.

  • Assume you know all of the answers. Allow for the possibility that your staff members have valuable information to share.
  • Get rid of distractions. When your attention is somewhere else during a conversation, you risk sending a message that the employee and their message are unimportant.
  • Overlook nonverbal cues. These cues often reveal what a person is really thinking. But don’t just focus on their body language. Be sure to control yours too. There are times this is challenging, either because we disagree strongly or because the information is upsetting.
  • React emotionally to what is being said. Acknowledge the information even if you don’t agree.

RELATED: The Complete Human Resources Guide For Food Trucks

The Bottom Line

Face it; the strongest food truck owners tend to be characterized by their strong opinions and decisive actions. These are important traits, but it’s equally important for vendors to start listening to their staff members. Unfortunately too many vendors struggle to do this, in part because they’ve become more accustomed to speaking than listening. You need to start develop your listening ability. Avoid the barriers to good listening and overcome them.

How do you handle listening to your food truck team? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section or social media. Facebook | Twitter