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“Listen to me” — advice for building empathy, understanding and confidence

by Mark P. McDonald  |  March 19, 2020  |  Comments Off on “Listen to me” — advice for building empathy, understanding and confidence

A long time ago in a career far far away, I received a piece of advice that makes a difference, particularly in times of stress.  Here are those words.  A simple reminder of how you can make people live up to their best selves.

Listen to me

When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving advice.  You have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me, and you begin to tell me why I should not feel that way. You have trivialized my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me. and you feel that you have to do something to solve my problem. You have failed me, strange as that may seem.

All that I asked was that you listen.

Not to talk, or do…

Just hear me

I can do it myself.

I am not helpless.

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But when you accept the simple that that I do feel what I feel. No matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you, and you can get about the business of understand what is behind the irrational feeling.

And when that is clear, the answers are obvious, and I do not need advice.

Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what is behind them.

So please listen … and hear me.

Wait a minute and I will listen to you.

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Category: human-ability  leadership  leading-the-next-generation-workforce-2  personal-observation  

Mark McDonald
VP Analyst
12 years at Gartner
33 years IT Industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program. Read Full Bio

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