Life Lessons For Leaders – Communication: How Do You Say I Care?
Infants learn language by distinguishing the silences between sounds and the way the sounds are put together. They also learn meanings based upon nuances and emotions behind the words. They begin to organize their world around the words that they hear frequently; the words become the tools that enable them to interact with their environment. This is how they make the human connection.
I believe this activity continues throughout our adult lives. However, the conversations we have as leaders are predicated upon the words we learned, and the behavior we witnessed as children.
What was your first word? What word did you use most often? Did you know how to say ‘no’ before you knew ‘yes’? What was the ratio of a loving ‘good job’ to the shriek of ‘stop that’? Where does the child learn to yell “I hate you”? ‘No’, ‘stop that’ and ‘I hate you’ are not inborn. They are learned, as are the behaviors that go with them.
Does this mean that those of us who learned the negativity, the violence, or the concept of victimhood need to stay there? No. It simply means we need to be aware of, and willing to change our language and our way of thinking. We need to affirm, often, for ourselves and others the words of “yes”, “good job”, “I want to know what you think” and “I care about you”. It means we need to learn how to listen, not only to the words, but to the nuances and emotions behind the words. We need to re-organize our world around the words of kindness, compassion, inclusivity and commitment.
Susan Scott, in her book Fierce Conversations, says:
Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.
As a leader, how do you say, “I care about you”?
Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.
Other posts of relevance: Life Lessons for Leaders – Caring Communication