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Habit of Mind 3 (HoM)

August 8th, 2019 · No Comments


Habit of Mind 3: Listening with Empathy and Understanding

Highly effective people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy listening (Covey, 1989). As previously posted, we learned about the difference between listening and hearing. This Habit of Mind takes it one step further, how to make listening meaningful. This is a skill everyone in today’s world struggles with and we know this because of all the research done that supports how listening is the least taught skill in schools today. (Costa&Kallick, 2008).

We as adults have to work twice as hard to learn how to listen and understand others with empathy. 2019 is a year of differences and freedom of speech. Social media provides vivid platforms and increased volume for our thoughts and feelings, but does it help empathize? Understand? Voice opinions respectfully? Respond with dignity?

All of these may not be required on Facebook while on the couch at home, but they are required in your workplace. In this post, we will discuss and share some strategies on how to improve this in your work environment.

Firstly, what is the difference between empathy and sympathy  – we gotta figure this out as research only one of them is effective in listening with empathy and understanding.

Image Attached Below: The Mud Hole 

8 Tactics for Work

1/ Time – patience, let it happen naturally – give it time.

2/ Be mindful of your body language and theirs – arms crossed shows you are not open to understanding. 

3/ Be the person who gets down into the hole and helps, empathy not sympathy

4/ Solutions – keep them to yourself – now is not the time to fix the problem, it’s time to listen – ask them if you can share solutions once they are done.

5/ Repeat a phrase or word

6/ Stay engaged and interested, prompt for more details

7/ Ask sensitive, open-ended questions

8/ Allow for silence

Being able to paraphrase another person’s ideas, detecting indicators (cues)of their feelings or emotional states in their oral and body language (empathy), accurately expressing another person’s concepts, emotions and problems—all are indications of listening behavior (Piaget called it “overcoming ego-centrism”).

A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with. Most of the time, people we work with get frustrated, everybody does, sometimes we do – that is life – the real world is irritating. Sometimes we just need a shoulder to lean on and an ear to talk off.

Listen. Empathize. Understand.

(Health-for-America, 2019)

(Health-for-America, 2019)





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