U is for understanding

How many of us started our management training with this Covey quote?  It’s one of my favourites and I’m so pleased to be using it for the letter U in my alphabet series.   For me it is a crucial lesson for the way we conduct ourselves in life.  It’s as much about patience and listening as about getting things right rather than always being right.  And this is really interesting because in school it feels as if we’re rewarded for being right.  We learn about reading and writing but not how to be great listeners and the world that we live in tends to focus on immediacy.  We don’t have to wait for anything!

In the book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey says that next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival; to be understood.  Yet, how many times do we really listen empathically to what others have to say rather than jumping in to get our points across?  I found another quote in Covey’s book that says, ‘although the tongue weighs very little, few people are able to hold it’ and I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of wanting to share our thoughts, fix things or provide advise.  How ever well meaning that may be.

When I was taking my coaching qualifications we talked about having four symbols to help us listen more empathically.  So I’ll share them with you so that you can bear them in mind too – an ear for what we hear, an eye for what we see as you can often read what people are not saying in their body language, a heart for how what we hear makes us feel and a king to show respect for the other person.  I hope you find it useful.

How many of us started our management training with this Covey quote?  It’s one of my favourites. For me it is a crucial lesson for the way we conduct ourselves in life. It’s as much about patience and listening as about getting things right rather than always being right.  Interesting too as in school it feels we reward students for being right, learn about reading and writing but not how to be great listeners and the world that we live in tends to focus on immediacy.

In his book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey says that next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival; to be understood. Yet, how many times do we really listen empathically to what others have to say before jumping in to share our thoughts, fix things or provide advise, how ever well meaning that may be?

When I was taking my coaching qualifications we had four symbols to help us really hear what was going on for the other person. I’ll share them with you so that you can bear them in mind too – an ear for what we hear, an eye for what we see (as you can often read what people are not saying by their body language), a heart for how what we hear makes us feel and a king to show respect for the other person. I hope you find it useful.

 

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