When Kumbaya Isn't Enough...
Updated: Aug 27, 2021
We are never, ever all going to get along on everything. And that’s okay. And we can also let go the tagline, “Let’s agree to disagree”. It does all sides a disservice because no one’s really listening.
It is a callous game, where thoughts and feelings are dismissed and disallowed and it affects everyone. Let’s face facts, we’ve all been guilty of being so entrenched in our own thoughts and feelings we can’t see any good reason to consider an opinion or perspective which is contrary to our own.
Therein lies the problem – we can’t “see”. Learning to navigate the divide isn’t about seeing at all. It’s about listening. Active listening requires hearing and receiving communication. Dictionary.com defines it as giving one’s attention to a sound.
Everything in the universe emits sound.
And to further complicate matters – there are 4 different types of attention:
Selective – one thing at a time. The ability to turn your hearing on or off, processing as you see fit. It’s not really about the other individual, as much as it is about your attention span.
Divided – two or more things happening concurrently. It used to be multitasking. In reality, it’s being unproductive across multiple subjects.
Executive – deals more proactively with necessary steps to accomplish a goal – the realm of the dreamers and seeker.
And finally, there’s listening at another level – it’s called Sustained due to its focus over a long period of time. This is the one which results in immense impact and reward for all parties.
Sustained Listening, in It’s simplest form allows for connectivity and engagement, involving one person being attentive while another speaks. Along the way, there are opportunities, provided by the speaker, for the listener to paraphrase and mirror the information back. This is done without judgment or insertion of the listener's point of view.
As our workplaces have diverged along socio-political lines, a lot of individuals have chosen to engage on a selective basis – “I’ll listen and learn…” which translates to – “…if it’s in the headlines and can’t be ignored, you’ve got my attention.” Unfortunately, it compounds our inability to communicate and collaborate.
While it may not change or alter anyone’s views, Active Listening will ensure the beginnings of mutual respect and allow for a fresh start, resulting in optimized relationships and communication efficiencies, with a shared emphasis on high performance outcomes.
Kumbaya’s not working so maybe it’s time to stop tearing down and time to start building up. Ready to do more? Schedule Today and we can discuss how having impactful conversations can drive performance and financial results in your organization.