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#WFH: Are You Visual, Supported & Listened To?

Intuitive listening allows us to tune into the other person’s sense of self, their purposes and their level of self-reliance in trying to accomplish goals, task and objectives. It helps us discover the confidence or lack of confidence the other person possesses in their ability to get things done. If the person perceives themselves as an object of the world, the recipient of experiences they cannot control or influence, they are likely to experience negative feelings like guilt, judgment or fear. This often results in a feeling of helplessness, anger or shame at the inability to meet the standards of others.  Understanding the individual’s self-sense and self-reactions can alert us to the perspective. For example, “I really don’t like the fact that the deadline has been changed again” is really not about the deadline but about the person’s reaction to the deadline. This interaction has a goal. The goal of the interaction is to let us know that the person is upset. If we intuit and understand the real goal, we can appreciate the interaction (Zimring, 2000).

Intuitive listening lets us understand the direction the person is moving. Is it toward a solution or an excuse? By listening for the quality of the feeling that the person is trying to convey what is happening, intuitive listening lets us understand the goal, the purpose and the intention of the interaction. Suppose our team member says “I am really stressed right now. I lost my babysitter and I have to take the kids to my mother’s house. She is willing to take them but she is very unpredictable with how she treats them. She is not really reliable.” What is the goal of this interaction? What is this person trying to tell you? How do you discern the goal? Then your team member adds “I am looking for a new babysitter and I think I will find one soon.” This is what we respond to. We can see that he/she is trying to really find a solution. He/she is a little uncomfortable with the current situation, but we support that effort. The intention is to find a workable solution.

Learning the four steps to effective virtual listening has beneficial effects. Better listening skills support growth and change lives. When we feel like we are visible, supported and listened to, we are more likely to act with autonomy and make responsible choices. We ask a great deal of people in the work environment. In the virtual world, individual initiative and autonomy are not only supported, they are required. Learning to listen well enough to respond to someone’s intentions and experiences requires practice. Most people are not born with these skills and have not been taught them in K-12 or K-20.

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