Overcoming the Reason People Don’t Listen

Tune into others if you expect them to tune into you. Discouraged or defeated people need strength before they’ll listen to ideas or solutions.

Give strength before giving answers or solutions.

Six Ways to Strengthen others:

  1. Agree with frustrations; don’t explain why. If they feel frustrated they are frustrated. It’s frustrating when you’re told why you’re frustrated.
  2. Defuse negative emotions by validation. Emotional people don’t listen. Emotions cloud judgment, especially discouragement, anger, or bitterness. Always deal with emotion before providing solutions.
  3. Strengthen others by seeing their strengths.
  4. Acknowledge their contributions.
  5. Shut off lights at the end of the day. Say, “Go home.”
  6. Incorporate play at work.

Four Benefits of Strengthening others:

Vulnerability enhances influence.

You have greater influence with those who trust you; they’re vulnerable. People who feel understood become vulnerable; they feel safe. Safety is the belief that you’ll protect rather than abuse. “You won’t hurt me.”

Influence through vulnerability is pure manipulation apart from leadership integrity.

Affirmations open ears.

Convince someone you’re on their team and they’ll listen. Personal agendas create self-protection and defensiveness.

Encouragement lifts focus beyond self.

Discouraged people dwell on their own needs; someone has to. Strong people think about the needs of others.

Strength moves people from can’t to can.

Defeated people say, “I’m done or I can’t.” Strengthened people say, “I’ll try.”


Driving doesn’t work for long.

You can drive people but in the end no one goes far on empty; you must fuel their tanks.

Leader as strength-giver:

Successful leaders help others believe in themselves, higher purpose, and vision. Discouraged people can’t believe. Pressuring weak or defeated people to perform makes them resentful and resistant.

Everyone loses when “You don’t understand me,” becomes, “You can’t make me.”

How can leaders strengthen the people around them?