Everybody Desires to be Heard
Last week, a manager complained that his boss constantly pushes his ideas with a “here’s what I want you to do” even though the manager is a subject expert. A wife criticized her husband for never asking for her opinions; “every idea, every decision has to be his—not mine, not even ours,” she grumbled.
In coaching people, one of the most common grievances I hear is that people feel they have lost their right to be heard—their spouses, parents, friends, partners, bosses, and significant others do not “listen.” In fact, one of the foremost reasons for job dissatisfaction is that employees believe their bosses do not care for their employees’ opinions. Lack of respect and consideration can strain professional and personal relationships.
People Make Decisions for Their Own Reasons
“I tell you and you forget.
I show you and you remember.
I involve you and you understand.”
* Eric Butterworth
In making decisions and getting things done with people, if you are often unwilling to ask for others’ opinions, it is because you likely think you might seem vulnerable, insecure, or incapable of taking decisions on your own. Or, perhaps, you simply choose to be forceful and assert your influence. Over time, such behaviors can easily hurt others’ feelings and trigger resentment.
Recognize that people make decisions for their own reasons, not yours. They are less likely to be motivated at something that they did not choose. If you try to be forceful, they are less likely to comply.
Four Important Words: “What do you think?”
Be open and approachable. Develop the habit of asking, “What do you think,” before declaring, “You will do this,” or even, “We will do this.”
Expect differences of opinion; they are natural. Work on reaching decisions by building on the agreements.
People are Inclined to Support What They Help Decide
Quite often, when people realize they have little influence on the decision-making process, they withdraw from active participation. They are usually reluctant to participate actively in a process, idea, or system that they were never consulted on.
People want to support, defend, and enthusiastically work on anything that they help create or decide. Therefore, include people in decision-making at every level in every situation—at home, work and elsewhere.
Develop the indispensable art of persuasion by asking, “What do you think.” By incorporating others’ inputs, you demonstrate a sincere interest in soliciting their opinions. When people feel valued and cared for, you establish an atmosphere of open communication, ownership, and increased commitment.