What if I told you that the way you have been conversations with your direct reports is of no great value. Yes, you read it correctly. What we consider as a meaningful conversation is actually rephrasing and reiteration. The other commonly committed mistake is quickly thinking of a somewhat similar incident or information and slapping it as soon as the conversation is over. The worst case is sharing the solution to a situation not knowing the specifics in its entirety; mostly done within the 2/3 of the conversation. You know that feeling when the recipient is mindlessly gazing at you and has left the conversation on a mental level as you finish your story. By the end of this conversation, It felt like you just had a conversation with a squirrel, who happens to be your boss. You are frustrated, feeling undervalued because you were heard but not listened to.
Sad News- As a manager you unknowingly spiked the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and started a loop of mistrust in your team member. The neuroscience of any conversation is how it is perceived by the brain. Did you know cortisol hormone is a slow releasing hormone and remains in our bodies for way longer than the feeling happy and cared for a hormone, oxytocin?
“Your team is frustrated and feeling undervalued because you often hear (them) but seldom listen. “
Here is the reality- There is a cognitive overload on everything about on being the manager-coach coaching leader/servant leader etc. Truth is that “A servant leader has advanced listening skills.” and competent coaches have these skills too. The other reality is I know that you care about your team. You empower your team. You are your team’s biggest cheerleader. Unfortunately, you are pressed for time every day because you are juggling your schedule between meetings and having (mostly on the surface) fire-fighting conversations. The long-term training course in listening is a prescription you will never use because you learn when it is necessary.
Good News- Use the purple cheat sheet to practice. What you get is the way to practice Active Listening.
Remain Silent. Calming down is contagious
Make eye contact. Focus on the speaker’s eyes and the forehead. It is powerful
Provide your feedback and only if you have been asked
Strive for listening at levels 2 and 3
Count me on your side if you need to have a conversation. Let’s make an action plan about you. Please visit my services to see what I offer. I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences.
Co-Active Coaching, by Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House and Phillip Sandahl