Do you ever have those moments when something strikes you as profound, but as you reflect on it you realize—well that’s just common sense? Why am I just realizing this? “Listening is caring” is profound for me simply because I had never intentionally connected the dots.
I knew it was important and active listening has been a development area for me throughout my career. I know that it makes the other person realize you see them as important or you believe they have something of value to add to the conversation. I also know that it is important to understand someone else’s perception, beliefs and position. But recently, two events helped me to see clearly how this is also an expression of caring—that we do care about them as a person.
One of my partners approached me and said they wanted some one-on-one time to just download what was on their mind. As I listened, I realized that it was more important for me to know and understand the challenges from their viewpoint rather than a strategic discussion or decision. This partner needed confirmation that I believed in them and understood them. Bottom line—does Joey care about me as a person and my success?
This came shortly after a weekend with my grandson, Davis, where he had launched into a long story about this fantasy football league he was creating with current college quarterbacks. Now I love this kid dearly and love spending time with him but I was a little “busy.” After he talked for about five minutes, I could see this was going nowhere fast and I wanted to get our dinner started, catch up on email and make a quick call. But as I started to remove myself, I could see the disappointment in his eyes. I immediately realized he wanted my full attention to know I cared about him. Our actions tell everything.
So I sat back down and we ended up researching together and making a list of the top 36 college quarterbacks he would use in his league. He was glowing as we finished up and I connected the dots on how much listening shows we do care. Yes, it’s common sense in so many ways. Yet I have found it to be very powerful for me when I intentionally listen to show how much I care. Are your ears open? I am working on filling mine more often to #beEvenBetter.