This will come as a surprise but during the festive season we had a day where we ate lots of food at someone’s house!! How off the wall are we!!
Anyway, as you’d expect, the prerequisite ‘lots of food’ had been bought and prepared by the host and, although we chipped in with some final bits of cooking / stirring / opening packets(!), the host had far and away done the lion’s share of the work.
When we’d all eaten more than we ever should have done, us helpers thanked the host for such a lovely meal…..
And this is where it all went wrong for me…….
The immediate response was ‘No, not at all. Thank you all for your help.’
It might seem innocuous, but it made me feel un-heard, as though my thanks weren’t valued. And almost as though it was a competition to see who could be the most effusive with their thanks. I know that wasn’t their intention – but of course the impact felt is so often not the impact intended.
It’s rattled round my head for the last week or so, and has had me thinking about all those meetings that happen in work with line managers. You know the ones –
1. Line manager gives own example ‘nearly’ similar to what the colleague’s just described, because they think it’ll show they understand – colleague feels un-heard.
2. Line manager has a regular catch-up meeting with one of their team where the colleague doesn’t quite get to the end of what they want to say because it’s sparked this ‘great’ idea for the line manager’s and they’ve started running with it – colleague feels un-heard.
3. Colleague talks about something they’re proud of and line manager joins with a ‘That reminds me of when I…..’ – colleague feels un-heard.
4. Line manager congratulates colleague on a great piece of work and colleague says ‘No, no, I didn’t really do anything. Bob did all the difficult bits’ – line manager feels un-heard.
When I googled ‘really hearing someone’, I found lots of content about hearing impaired people and the challenges they have communicating with ‘hearing people’.
It made me feel incredibly sad that, although so many of us are so lucky to have two fully functioning ears, we’re still really so incapable of making best use of them.
And it also made me think about the power of coaching – of being a quiet coach – someone who allows a person to talk and to think and to really, truly be heard – not just by their coach but by themselves too.
Listening is an incredible physical ability.
Hearing is an incredible and powerful skill.
I’m pretty sure we all could do more and better.
And if you think you’re already great, just raise it back into your consciousness for a while, notice if that voice in your head is chattering away about what you’re going to say next, or about what else you need to be doing at this precise moment. And ask yourself if what you’re going to say next is for your benefit or for their’s?
I believe in people being the key to success and that success is unlocked by great bosses. I’m an Executive Coach for SME leaders to help create success for you, for your team, for your business.
If you believe in this stuff too, get in touch for a chat and let’s see what we could do together – 07718 316 616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or take a look at my website to find out more.