Empathy is Imperative

Expressing genuine empathy is  critical to being a successful leader, salesperson and coworker.  Want to lose someone’s confidence?  Show them you’re more focused on short term productivity, closing the deal or getting what you want in spite of their wants and needs – professionally or personally.

Listen to understand , then respond.

When in conversation, how often are we preparing our response well before the other person has finished speaking?  In our fast paced culture we can forget that we must listen first to understand then to respond.  It’s the old joke you heard from your grandmother about God giving you two ears and one mouth.  When we rush ahead we leave the other person feeling undervalued.  Who would want to do that to a direct report, client or coworker?  I have learned the phrase “listen to understand and validate” or LUV.  We can’t help a client or coworker until we understand where they’re coming from and what they need.  We can then top that off by letting them know we have heard and understand their frustration, concern or need, i.e. the validation.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes, “To relate effectively with a spouse, child, friend or coworker, we must learn to listen.  And this requires emotional strength.  Listening involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand – highly developed qualities of character.”

In the tough and fast paced construction industry, may we all aspire to show one another the respect and kindness of listening to understand.