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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Strengthen others by seeing their strengths.
- Acknowledge their contributions.
- Shut off lights at the end of the day. Say, “Go home.”
- 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?
Strengthen your people by putting them in position to succeed. Give them what they need to win.
Wonderful suggestion Steve. Few things are more frustrating than feeling like you’re running in squirrel cage.
When we can’t see a way to make progress we give up trying.
Love this one, especially the “Four Benefits” section.
One thing I’ll mention about emotion “clouding judgement”: while that’s how describe it, what I find is going on is that emotion is pointing us to something we need to work with to gain clarity. In other words, I would not advise considering emotion as a nuisance to clear judgement, but as a clear signal toward issues we need to work with to move toward greater well being and success.
Affirming toward clarity and strength is an art form.
One can affirm in a commiserative way that validates complaining, or one can affirm in a way that honors and respects current emotion, then gently guides toward relief and/or clarity and new direction.
I like to affirm with the INTENT toward greater clarity and strengthening.
Hope your weekend is awesome so far. 🙂
Thank you for adding so much value… your insights into listening to emotions and seeking clarity as well as affirmation not commiseration bring great clarity to this sensitive topic.
I particularly enjoy the idea of using emotions as indicators of something we need to address. I find anger is a great indicator of violated values, for example.
Best to you,
This is a very good one. Though I have not literally thought of all of these elements, I have done or practiced them. So I do know that I am headed in the right direction!
Heading in the right direction is what it’s all about…
You have done it again Dan, these are excellent tools to take to work with us everyday. Not only to use with our employers and coworkers, but with those we provide services for as well. Have a great Sunday!
Thanks for the good word and have a great Sunday yourself.
Dan, this would be a great book title: When You Don’t Understand Me Becomes You Can’t Make Me. Just a thought… 🙂
If it wasn’t so true, it would be funny. 🙂
Hi Dan, came across this blog through other sources. Great writing and good advices. Thank you!
I have a question Dan; “How best to defuse negative emotions?”. Could you pls give an example of how you see this is done? I just want to be sure I did understand this right.
I value also your benefits and warning. Many thanks for this post I sure will check back.
I can think of a few ways to defuse emotions…
1. Don’t ignore or belittle how people feel.
2. Give time for people to process.
3. Talk while walking slowly when anger is involved.
4. Invite people to explain the connection between their values and their feelings.
5. Don’t try to fix people.
6. Never say calm down.
7. Practice open body language.
8. Lower your volume.
9. Soften your tone.
Most importantly, validate their feelings. Don’t say, you shouldn’t feel that way.
Tell them what you see. When someone’s emotional response seems very strong or disproportionate try telling them what you see. “I’m surprised by the strong feelings I see, I wonder what I missed?”
For what its worth,
Hi Dan, good points you put up (more than I expected 😉 ). In every point I see a valuable contribution.
Dan I must be honest here. Coming across your website was high time as I do need to work on my own after a long period of hardship. Your side proves a valuable place that supports this process. Thank you!
YOu have my best, Dune. Thanks for the good word.
Beautiful, thank you.
Thanks and cheers!
Dan great article. I have felt for the last ten years my greatest contribution as a leader is to be a strengths-giver. So much so, I have become a certified coach in both StrengthsFinder and VIA’s Character Strengths and have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Strengths Based Management. Helping people discover, develop and apply their unique set of Strengths by using highly valid and reliable assessments so that they can truly live out their unique destiny has been a source of great joy and satisfaction for me.
Strengthening others can be done by sharing successes. This lets staff know you noticed their good work. Its too easy to find shortcomings, strengthen them by seeing how they are doing things right. Builds more pride and opens them up to ideas.
Recognition and reward goes a long way in helping to build stronger mental muscles in people. We all like to feel valued and that our contribution makes a difference, but we really do not know on an individual level unless someone goes out of their way to say.
Too often the collective is thanked and the individual overlooked. A pat on the back and a thankyou, is priceless some days.
In any position of business, management, or organization, as well as, in daily living–these Leadership keypoints prove to be crucial! Thanks for keeping us on point to the cause and effect of Positive approaches.
Dan, first time reading your blog! So much of this post rings true to my experience with my internal and external customers of our family business. I especially like the part about leaders being strength givers. seeing a team member empowered gives me such satisfaction!
Dan, this is so right…and yet so often ignored – do you have any thoughts on why?
I’m really glad I found your site. Thanks for your insights. I feel diffused right now, like someone gets what I’ve been trying to say all this time. What is a good thing to say when you really feel that the other person is dealing with so many of their own negative self thoughts that virtually anything you say is seen as a negative reinforcer rather than an acceptance of their feelings?