Listening + Communicate: What I’ve learned in the last decade working with People.
If you live on planet Earth and work with people, this text is for you!
Besides what many people think, developing soft skills such as active listening, communication, and being organised is not only tied to management positions. As we know, there is a hierarchy within the corporations. Still, an aligned team on these aspects is something aimed to reach the goals and achievements.
It is not the first time — and it’s not gonna be the last — I write about this theme. In fact, I’m fascinated by it, and I truly believe that we can apply it in many related areas of our lives. I’ve noticed a positive difference inside my personal circles when such skills are applied frequently.
In this text, I choose to address how active listening and communication can prevent crises, reduce anxiety and bring good results in your life.
May you remember a time when you were under pressure and very dissatisfied? It’s not good, isn’t it? At that moment, someone you trust asks how you are. Then, you open up and tell what’s going on.
That person listens to you actively, your complaints and anxieties about what you are experiencing, without interfering in your speech or judging what you say. After venting and being heard, you probably felt relieved, and perhaps this situation may even seem less tragic to you. The only action that person did was to listen to your complaints carefully.
Perhaps this person doesn’t have an answer or an immediate solution for you. Still, the fact that you realize that you are being heard already gives you relief and encouragement. Well, this is the active listening “superpower”!
Listen more and talk less.
Would you be realistic and try to account for how many people who actively listen have you had the opportunity and privilege to work with? Not many, I can assure you.
We live in a world where talking, giving opinions and arguing all the time sounds more important, even if you don’t have much to add at that moment or on a certain subject, than stay at your place.
The value of being heard at any cost seems much greater than listening than paying attention. It’s like we’re constantly on a poorly tuned radio, where more than one station is playing simultaneously — I wonder whether millennials will understand what I’m talking about — it’s messed up!
It has become a must to be in the spotlight with your loudspeaker all the time. And being behind all this, it may seem not very interesting, without prestige.
A fascinating tip to understand a bit more about NOT-STAYING-IN-THE- SPOTLIGHT-ALL-THE-TIME is The power of quiet leadership from the BBC Ideas series. It’s said how active listening is one of the most important skills for nowadays, you may also identify yourself.
Well, there is a connection between listening and communication.
Years ago, I was overwhelmed at work — just another day at the office. Both my box email and my hangouts kept on notifying me for a long time. Being the focal point to clarify employee doubts was a fundamental part of my tasks. Still, I continued to ignore the notifications, as nothing was more important than finishing my activities in those days. I would answer the employees as soon as I had a tiny free time. I knew it; they didn’t.
I made a crisis happen, and I passed for my first one because I did not communicate.
Declaring that it would not be possible to attend them in those next few hours would have been enough not to generate anxiety and bad noise. I had transformed something simple into unsatisfactory; I’ve made a situation that did not exist and created the unnecessary headache that should have been avoided in times of high demand. I bet my coworkers didn’t have a pleasant time with me when this happened in the past.
I was not mature enough to understand that a brief statement would be sufficient to avoid the anxiety of those who needed an immediate response. A lesson more than learned: communication is a mitigation key to keep away from a crisis.
Don’t you agree there isn’t anything so satisfying as working with well-intentioned people who are willing to help?
There is nothing better than “I don’t know how to inform you about this, but I’ll do my search and talk to you as soon as I have a position”. See, this is using communication as your partner! Informing: in a simple way and being willing to listen is essential!