Performance Review Phrases – Listening Skills

Need a performance review phrase for your employee’s listening skills (or lack thereof)?

Everybody wants to believe that they have good listening skills, but often times people don’t truly listen to the thoughts/ideas of others.   If an employee isn’t really listening to you or your customers, than most likely they are not hearing what their needs are or their concerns.   At my job we do a “listening skills” profile, to determine what type of listener you are and to make you aware of if you really listen to others effectively or not.  This has nothing to do with the performance review, but rather a team development exercise that is meant to raise awareness.  Lots of time team member (especially in my field) are already thinking of how they are going to solve the problem the person is describing, so they aren’t listening to the rest of the problem or issue.  Other times, they just aren’t interested in hearing what another person has to say (sad but true).  Whatever the listening style is, you as the manager need to find a way to describe the listening skill in their performance review phrase.


Some positive performance review phrases for Listening Skills might be:

Terry understands and listens to the needs and the goals of his customers and potential clients.

Terry exhibits an interest in other’s points of view, and really seeks to understand their input.

Terry responds to questions appropriately, demonstrating the ability to listen and understand the issues at hand.

Terry displays an open-mindedness and eagerness to understand before making a diagnosis or resolution.

Terry doesn’t come back for “more details” on a given task or topic, he seems to really get it and  understand it the first time.


Some negative performance review phrases for Listening Skills could be:

Terry needs to focus on understanding the questions or comments from the customer before providing the solution.

Terry shouldn’t interrupt people before they are done speaking.

Terry only hears part of the instructions and has to come back for the rest of the details regarding the task at hand.

Terry speaks over people in meetings, and doesn’t allow them toperformance review phrases for listening skills complete their thought before interrupting.

I have learned that finding the right performance review phrases to discuss starts the conversation about the employee’s listening style.  Research shows there are 4 types of listening styles:

1. Compassionate Listener. This person stops whatever he is doing, turns, faces the communicator and gives that person complete attention.

2. Too Busy to Listen Listener. This person never stops doing things. Their hands busily scurry across the computer key board, straighten up the house, fiddle with the latest puzzle.

3. Trees for Forrest Listener. Here’s a listener who hears words and not meaning.


Image: Michal Marcol /

4. The It’s Me Listener. This person thinks himself a great listener. They love being with other people so they believe they are good at connecting. The problem with their listening is they get in their own way.

Knowing these types of listening types, you might identify which type your employee is and try to coach them into be a #1 listener.  This is where you as their manager should also be.  :-)

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