The High Cost of Your Employees (and Family Members) Not Feeling Heard And What You Can Do About It
In this issue: Just Listen… / Four in five employees don't feel heard – here's why / How to Become a Better Listener: / Stream Ailey’s Opening Night Gala from December 22-28, 2021 / The Lighter Side of Listening
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I'm Andrea J. Miller and this is my “The Wellthy Leader” Newsletter. I send this to people in my networks, people I’ve met recently, and friends I want to keep in touch with. You can unsubscribe (SEE THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE EMAIL) anytime, I won’t be offended
Just Listen…The High Cost of Your Employees (and Family Members) Not Feeling Heard and What you Can do About it
The holiday season is upon us.
The moment when we all come together and inevitably – for good and sometimes, terrifying -- regress back to our childhoods.
A good friend of mine once said, our parents (or insert family member here) can push your buttons because, well, they installed them… something to think about.
So, in the spirit of the season, here’s my gift to you, pause, before you react and then, just listen to them.
Yes, I know, I get it.
We’ve all experienced it.
You’ve just said something meaningful to you and you look over and they’re on their phone, not engaged, or have otherwise checked out of the conversation.
It can be upsetting.
Maybe you say something, maybe you don’t, but on some level, you take note.
The shift is subtle.
You may not even realize it at the moment.
Until it happens again …and again…and again.
Until one day, you decide that they really don’t care, so why should you.
The conversation changes.
You begin to share less with them.
Maybe even get a little defensive and/or shut down.
Whether it’s a family member, friend, boss, or colleague when we don’t feel valued, we react and usually in a negative way.
Unfortunately, these days this scenario isn’t unusual. Listening has become a rare skill.
When was the last time you felt truly heard?
Relatedly, was the last time you really listened to someone else? It does take two to have a conversation.
We're more connected now than ever before…and yet, few of us are truly connecting.
This is a reflection of our lives today.
We’re expected to continually broadcast out the latest thing we’re doing…yet this continual transmission leaves us with less and less time and bandwidth for the type of truly meaningful conversations we long for.
The Listening Paradox
Think about the last time you spoke to someone who really paid attention and/or when you did the same.
The conversation changes dramatically.
Questions, even the simplest ones can make all the difference.
On some level, you’re saying to the other person that what they’re saying is important to you...that THEY are important to you.
In his rather awesome book, The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier discusses the value of managers and leaders taking a “coach approach” to help their people “become more competent, more self-sufficient and more successful.”
When we listen and really show an interest in people it opens up greater possibilities for both you and them.
Like the concept of “yes and” in improv, when you’re receptive to what someone is saying it fosters conversation and allows for greater openness and creativity.
Conversely “no”, which is what you’re subtlety or not so subtlety saying to someone when you don’t listen, shuts down the conversation.
The truth is we not only don’t listen to others, but we also often don’t listen to ourselves.
As an executive coach, I’m continually amazed by the power of listening and reflecting back to clients what they‘ve said.
The shift is visible.
They’ve not only been heard, but they’re also able to hear themselves. Making our growing attention deficit something of a self-inflicted wound.
In this holiday season give yourself and others the gift of listening. Take a moment to pause, then listen and reflect back, before you speak.
A Few Things Tips for Your Holiday (and after) Listening
1. Remove distractions so you’re both able to focus.
2. Take a moment to listen and truly understand what the other person is saying before you speak.
3. Ask questions and reflect/repeat back some of what they’re saying to clarify your understanding and to signal to them that they’ve been heard.
4. Observe verbal and non-verbal cues, e.g. tone of voice, change in eye contact, etc.
5. Acknowledge what they’re saying and don’t try to fix it. Be more like a sounding board and help them come to their own realizations.
6. Ensure they’ve finished before ending the conversation. Related to the Peak-End Rule our brains can be a bit buggy, we judge things on how they felt at the peak moments, as well as how they felt at the end.
RECOMMENDED LISTENS, READS And other interesting things
Four in five employees don't feel heard – here's why
“Embracing employee feedback may mean the difference between retaining a high performer and recruiting someone to fill their vacancy,” added Mullen. “Employees who do not feel heard may also feel undervalued which can lead to distrust and disengagement. Listening to employees isn’t just good for culture — it’s good for business…”
How to Become a Better Listener:
“Listening is a skill that’s vitally important, sadly undertaught, and physically and mentally taxing. In the aftermath of Covid-19, particularly with the shift to remote work and the red-hot job market, it’s never been more important — or more difficult — for leaders to be good listeners. This article offers nine tips to help leaders become more active listeners, and a breakdown of the subskills involved in listening and how you can improve in them.”
Stream Ailey’s Opening Night Gala from December 22-28, 2021
The Opening Night Gala features performances of Robert Battle’s Ella (performed to live music by Jazzmeia Horne) and the finale of Love Stories, plus 'Bird' Lives!, an excerpt from Alvin Ailey’s For ‘Bird’ – With Love featuring Company member Clifton Brown with students from The Ailey School, and Mr. Ailey's beloved Revelations.