Saturday, February 19, 2011

Are you Listening?



Sometimes it feels like this is what you need to do to be heard, doesn't it?!?


It is interesting to me that I put this as one of the things I had to do much better...and it is an area I am struggling with the most. You know how it is...you do what you think is right and then the powers that be...bosses, in this case....parachute in and point out how screwed up everything you thought you were doing right is. No mention is made of what went right, just what went wrong. You get defensive and then you get argumentative and then you feel like the small dog above....as that appears to be where their heads are!


Unfortunately, the onus is on you to really try and understand the message they are trying to convey. Let's face it, we can't count on those in charge to always take the time to notice the things we do right....they expect those things to be done right...that's what they pay you for.


As far as the criticism, you have to listen closely to what they are trying to say...not necessarily what they are verbalizing, but the intent. Often we get defensive because we think our answers are the best. Um...hate to break it to you (and to myself), but...not always, my friend. Often a different perspective is what is needed to make your good idea a great idea...to make your good solution a great solution.


It's hard to do and we often find ourselves looking back with regret on how we handled someone who was being critical of our efforts. Listen closer for the real message. If you decide, after careful reflection, that their message is off base, then take it with a grain of salt and move on. Sometimes you will be able to get through to them that they are wrong, but, when it becomes clear that they are emotionally invested in their point of view, you probably won't be able to get them to budge. Just go do what you know is right and ignore their criticism.


And, if you decide, after careful reflection, that there is something to be gained by following their advice, thank them and give their idea a try. As simple as this sounds, it is the most difficult to do because we are too often emotionally invested in our solutions as well and don't like to be told we're wrong either. The reality is the only person you can change is you. Your actions are key to accomplishing what you set out to do. Only you can decided how to respond and only you can make the changes to make things better.


I am definitely struggling to follow my own advice, but the fact that I realize I have room to grow in this area is a positive thing. I hope that by sharing this with you, you can grow a bit too.

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