You feel motivated when you feel seen. You tend to disengage when you feel unheard. You’re anxious or angry when you feel misunderstood.
You engage when you feel you matter.
How can leaders build environments where people feel seen, heard, and understood?
7 ways to meet the need to feel seen, heard, and understood:
#1. Hold yourself accountable for personal development. You demonstrate solidarity with the team when you publicly work to become a better leader.
- Seek feedback.
- Practice vulnerability. Declare development goals.
- Discuss progress. Let people know how you’re doing.
Expect more of yourself than you expect from others.
#2. Provide clear expectations. Everyone needs to know what success looks like before they go to work today. Development opportunities connect to achievement.
People feel seen, heard, and understood when you help them rise.
#3. Recognize strengths publicly. Everyone on the team needs to know the top five strengths of everyone on the team. Some teams post each other’s strengths on the conference room wall.
#4. Schedule developmental one-on-ones. Where do you want to go? How can we help you get there?
Gallup’s research indicates high-development cultures contribute to feeling seen, heard, and understood.
#5. Learn to listen.
If you think you’re a good listener you’re probably wrong.
- Look at people when they’re speaking.
- Stop fidgeting.
- Ask questions.
- Thank people for contributing.
You can listen without committing to do everything people say.
#6. Accept the human condition. Everyone has weaknesses, even you.
People feel seen, heard, and understood when you know their weaknesses and respect their contribution.
#7. Practice empathy. Say, “It seems like you feel ________.” When you’re off the mark ask, “What am I missing?”
Affirm people’s energy. “You just lit up, what’s going on for you right now?”
“A person first starts to live when he can live outside of himself.” Albert Einstein
What makes you feel seen, heard, and understood?
Which of the above practices seem most relevant to you today?