The Manager Who Would Not Listen - The Character Series, Part 6

The manager was losing the trust of the group. And somewhere deep down he felt it. 

He told himself that he was the most knowledgeable expert in the room, and he was presenting what their new strategy and initiatives were going to be. He had created those himself, based on everything he knew was right. His intentions were good, too.

Yet, he was surprised getting so much opposition. People in the room expressed doubts and made many suggestions on how to change what he just presented. 

Essentially, they were telling him they don’t want or believe in what he had just laid out in front of them.

He got defensive. He waited everyone out who spoke, and then explained to them how they all were wrong.

So how was he losing their trust? Well, because he did not do the ONE thing that absolutely needed to be done.

He had not listened, and he had not listened FIRST.

As human beings, we all have a deep need to be understood. We want to express our thoughts, feelings, and opinions and have them received by others in a way that makes us feel heard and validated. However, if we want to truly be understood by others, we must first be willing to listen to them. This is the essence of the principle "Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

Back to that moment with our manager in the room.

What happened next was that people kept telling him the same thing over and over again, but just in different ways.

In fact, he had fake listened, which made the whole situation worse. In essence, he made it SEEM like listening, because he did invest the time to hear people out. In reality, he was just using that time to formulate his response and waited his turn.

Later, it struck him that everything he just did was not only wrong, but also done for the wrong reasons! 

Instead of listening to his ego, he should have looked at the situation as a beautiful opportunity to create win-win solutions and perhaps synergize with others to co-create something outstanding.

Listening first is a fundamental aspect of effective communication. Too often, we are so focused on getting our own point across that we don't take the time to truly understand what the other person is saying.  We might hear their words, but we don't really listen to them. We might even interrupt them mid-sentence to interject our own thoughts.

And therein lay his mistake: Apparently, he was much more interested in being right, rather than being effective!

Because it’s not only about making others feel validated. It’s also about validating our own assumptions! As it turned out, the manager in our story never validated several of his key assumptions, as he creates his well-intentioned strategies and initiatives. 

But when we do this, we miss out on valuable information and insights that could help us better understand the other person's perspective.

But why is has our manager been losing their trust?

Well, when we feel that someone is truly listening to us and taking our ideas and concerns seriously, we feel heard and respected. This, in turn, creates a sense of trust and openness that allows us to build deeper, more meaningful connections with others.

When we take the time to listen first, we demonstrate that we value the other person's thoughts and feelings. We create a safe space for others to express themselves without fear of judgment or interruption. And equally importantly: we get a chance to incorporate sometimes crucial insights that we didn’t know we were missing out on.

So listening, and especially listening FIRST, allows others to fully articulate their ideas and concerns, which in turn allows us to better understand where they're coming from.

It's important to note that listening doesn't mean we have to agree with everything the other person is saying. It simply means that we are willing to hear them out AND consider their perspective. 

By doing so, we are able to engage in a more productive and respectful dialogue that can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.

Ego talks. Respect, Humility, and Effectiveness listens!