Empathetic Listening :
Its Powerful Benefits and How to achieve these in our daily interactions.
Active Listening with empathy is the most effective form of listening. At its core, it is to try to understand others perspective and view of point .Empathetic Listening is critical to leadership effectiveness. The ability and willingness to listen with empathy is what sets a leader apart.
Benefits of Empathetic listening
1. Builds trust and respect.
2.Enables people to see reveal their emotions ( including tensions)
3. Facilitates openness of information sharing.
4. Creates an environment that encourages collaborative problem solving
With so many valuable benefits, it becomes truly important to develop listening with empathy.
Four Ways How Leaders can listen with more Empathy
1. Recognizing verbal, non verbal cues:
Pay attention to tone, facial expression, body language. Rceive information through all senses. Sensitive leaders pay attention to what others are not saying, understand how others are feeling and acknowledge those feelings
Thank you for sharing how you feel about the situation, it is important to understand where the team is coming from on the issue .”You seem excited ( upset) about this situation, and I would like to hear more about your perspective.
2. Processing :
It involves understanding the message and keeping track of points of the conversation, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, capture global themes and key messages.
Here a couple of key points I heard from this meeting. Here are our points of agreement and disagreement .Here are few more pieces of information we should gather.” Here are some suggested next steps- what do you think?”
3. Responding :
Effective responders give replies through verbal acknowledgments, deep and clarifying questioning or paraphrasing, Important non verbal responses might be head nods, full engagement in the conversation and use of acknowledging phrases
” That is a great point.”
” That’s a fresh perspective, you inspired me in the process.”
4. Follow up :
Follow up is an important step to showcase that true listening has occurred. Itcould be in the form of incorporating feedback and making changes, following through on promises made in meetings , or if not incorporating the feedback- explaining why they made their decisions.
In doing these we are able to recognize the multi- dimensionality of empathetic listening and act appropriately.
Profound implication to my life , as I go about further enhancing my empathetic listening.
I tend to always have a positive outlook to life and want to shade the conversation’s esp the negative ones with my sunny disposition. For eg last time when my dad happened to crib and complain about the dentist, getting commercial, raised his charges, pushing more expensive products to his patients. I rushed to take Dentist’s side, trying to reason objectively how business works, superior quality products are expensive and in the bargain, I completely dismissed understanding my dads perspective. If I had tried to listen with more empathy, I could have seen how rising prices of dental bills affects family budget ( though marginally) would have understood his little grievance, but more so at his age would have provided the re assurance that what hes sharing is meaningful , still has some substance and he would have felt more Heard. Also perhaps given him the pleasure of complaining an venting.
So Looking forward and committing myself to implementing more empathetic listening in my professional and personal interactions.
P.S I hope the dentist has lowered his charges.