Which part of you listens?

emotional intelligence listening skills Nov 03, 2022
Improve your communication skills - listening

The way you listen to others has an impact on them & your relationships—both in your personal and professional team.

When we truly listen with curiosity and openness to others, it encourages deeper connection, empowerment, and positive energy in others. 

When we pretend to listen to others, or listen to respond & defend, not to understand, it may increase anxiety, fatigue, conflict and disconnection with others.

“Just an improved ability to listen can result in employees experiencing less fatigue, anxiety, and depression. That is powerful, both for the individuals and the company as a whole. Better-performing employees support greater team cohesion and higher productivity in getting projects over the goal line, which ultimately increases business results.” (Echo, Listening Intelligence – Combining Active Listening and Cognitive Diversity to Elevate Team Performance)

Today my invitation is for all of us to

  • Notice whenever we are not listening to understand.
  • Pause anytime we notice that our own internal voice is busy judging, arguing, or defending ourselves as the other speaks. It makes it impossible to be really present with the other and their experience.
  • Ask ourselves - which part of me is doing the listening right now? The judge? The defender? The victim? Or the curious, kind, patient and empathetic, strong, focused and calm part of ourselves? 
  • Check in with ourselves - which scenario are we the actor in now

Scenario 1 - The Judge listens and speaks:

What happens if we DON’T pause and notice that our inner judge and protector are doing the listening, not the empathetic part of us?

Let’s say someone is sharing something unpleasant about us and we go straight into defense mode. We feel judged, and we judge back and even fight back. “No room for empathy; this is war!” shouts the inner judge. "How dare you to say that about me after all that I have done for you!?," is our angry response back to the other person.

Both of you are now upset, perhaps voices are being raised. Trust decreases, stress increases. In work situations creativity, performance and motivation suffers. 

No wonder we often misunderstand each other, as we really cannot hear at that moment, with our inner judge ‘shouting’ at us and the other.

Scenario 2 - The peaceful yet more impactful Sage listens & responds: 

What can happen when we actually DO PAUSE? And take a deep breath and even ask the other to give us a moment to recenter anytime we notice we don’t really listen to the other?

Same start as in scenario 1: someone is sharing something unpleasant about us. We feel the anger, frustration or fear come up. We PAUSE. Take a deep breath. Recenter emotionally, reconnect to the inner Sage. You remember - curiosity, empathy, not judgment. "Ask questions, try to understand" whispers the inner Sage to our ear. "It seems is really something that has upset you. I do want us to have a great relationship here. I hear that what I said the other day in the meeting felt to you like I was putting you down in front of the others. I'm so sorry, that was not my intention. I just had a different opinion about the strategy that we should take. Please help me understand - was it the words I used or something else that had you feel like I'm putting you down? What would be a better way for us to work together and both of us feel free to share when we have a different opinion?" is our possible Sage response back. 

The first person is feeling heard, understood and both of you are now working towards solution and improving things for the future. 

So remain vigilant - which part of you listens & responds?

Check out the original post (slightly different) on LinkedIn

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