One of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In a Forbes online article, Frances McIntosh wrote:
By creating an environment where we listen to understand, we create a space where people feel safe to share more freely (and often more creatively), which allows them to work smarter instead of harder. Just as embracing diversity, when we listen to understand, we learn new things and grow ourselves. How could this not support us in our own professional and personal lives?
McIntosh also notes earlier in the article “Millennials want to be heard.” Providing an encouraging environment where free and easy, and non-judgmental discussion is allowed is required not only for millennials, but for all employees. This builds trust. I am a child of the 1960s where the mantra was “Children should be seen and not heard.” Today’s child seldom has known that environment. My granddaughter just turned fourteen. She’s not considered a millennial, but is just slightly removed from that generation and was born to a world where communication is non-stop. She’s done an informal Myers-Briggs survey and is an “INFP.” She’s an outgoing child, but needs her alone time to recharge her introverted side. Millennials are more aware of themselves and their world than I ever was at their age. While I was trading baseball cards, she’s reading Psychology books and studying Latin.
Technology has provided information so much easier that previous generations. People have many ideas (and opinions) thrown at them. They need to be able to express their own.
Development Dimensions International (DDI) has a Key Principle that goes “Listen and Respond with Empathy”. Listen to your workers before you respond. You may think you know the answer, but make certain you are hearing the real question.
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