Communication and Relationship Building for Leaders

Bucks-Mont Collaborative Leadership Training Series: Communication and Relationship Building for Leaders | October 20, 2015

Course Description:

You’ll learn Empathic Listening – If like most, your training has primarily been in writing and speaking; however, most of our days are spent listening.

-Whole Message Model – This is a template leaders can use to ensure the entirety of your message is being communicated effectively – especially those difficult messages.

Presenter William Reiner is part of the Adjunct Faculty at Holy Family University where he teaches in the Graduate School’s MBA program. His courses include leadership development, finance, and economics.

Notes:

Respect rubricWe started with a Grad-school type rubric with skills/knowledge on one axis and relationships or ‘ability to connect and perceived care about me’ on the other.  Basically, people who are low in skill and poor at relationships are despised, while people who are high in skill and good at relationships are revered and respected.  Those who are good at what they do but are not trusted because they have shallow relationships are feared while those who don’t really know what they’re doing but are nice people are tolerated.

Characteristics of a Good listener:

present, not multi-tasking, not on the phone, focused on the speaker, provides ques and acknowledgements, gives TIME, sincere/genuine, restates the conversation, hears more than what is being said (empathy), is NOT formulating a response while you’re talking, patient, shows respect, not judgmental, interested, challenging when appropriate, holistic and ask probing questions

Characteristics of a Bad listener (you know, like me):

distracted, reactionary, doesn’t let you finish, impatient, no TIME, dismissive, one-up-manship, make the conversation about them, devalue what’s said, don’t seek to understand, “Efficient over effective – you may be heard but are not listened to”, not remembering the conversation (maybe we just have a bad memory, yo), jumping to conclusions, intimidating

A Bit About the Importance of Body Language:

  • 50% of the message is non-verbal
  • 10% of the message is through the words used
  • 40% is tone of voice

Listening – on a scale

-1Discounting is NEGATIVE listening

  • Providing Unsolicited Advice or trying to Solve the Problem is Discounting
  • Providing False Reassurance is Discounting – “It’ll be all right”
  • Denial of the person’s feelings is dangerous Discounting – you really can’t tell a person how they should feel. They can think differently but you feel what you feel!

0 – Silence can be positive or negative, depending on circumstance. Are you distracted or showing open body language and giving your attention?

1 – Fact Finding – get to the root of the issue with questions. Seek to clarify, look to understand so you can then be understood.

2 – Content Reflection – “It sounds like you’re saying” – provide a restatement. Restate a word or key words used by the speaker to show you’re listening.

3 – Feeling Reflection – “Sounds like you’re ___” Name or identify the EMOTION for the speaker to feel heard or validated.  Enhance with positive body language.

Empathic Listening

  • Feeling of the speaker is reflected
  • You’ve gotten to the heart of the issue.
  • The words are the tip of the iceberg, while the meaning is hidden beneath.
  • What if you identify the wrong emotion?  No worries – the speaker will CORRECT you!  Yes it’s risky and may cause anxiety, but it will get to the real issue: Emotion.
  • Emotions: disappointed, frustrated, angry, concerned, exhausted, shocked, afraid, sad, hurt, impatient, drained, deceived, worried, vulnerable, etc.
  • Ask permission before offering ideas, feedback or solutions.  “Would you like to talk through ideas?” “Sounds like you’re really frustrated, How can I help?  What do you need from me?”

Resources:

  1. Listening with Empathy by John Selby
  2. Habit 5: Empathic Listening by Stephen Covey
  3. Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols

Whole Message Model

  • Delivering the hard messages and handling the difficult discussions.
  • There is often a disconnect between what’s being said and what is heard.
  • This is a Template – all of the elements of a message can be mapped out in advance.
  • Web resources I found: Performance Feedback | Whole Messages by TalentFutures | hal.ph Whole Messages Communication

Observations – “I see…”  performance, behavior DIRECTLY observed

Thoughts – “I think…” we need, as a team, to follow the policy

Feelings/Emotions – “I feel…” really frustrated that, concerned, uncomfortable, anxious, etc.

Seek to Understand – ask for information – pause if needed.  What if there’s a really good reason for the behavior you observed?  This is the time to hear about it.

Wants/Needs – “I want or need…” you to come to work dressed professionally, for example.

It’s Simple, but not Easy!  Teach it to others to fully understand it.

Genuine listening is hard work; there is little about it that is mechanical… We hear with our ears, but we listen with our eyes and mind and heart and skin and guts as well – Alfred Benjamin

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