With the anticipation of New Year resolutions, you can craft 2019 to be all about investing in You and your own soft skills. Tuba’s coaching mission is centered on building better culture together through soft skills enhancement, and we’ve been dedicating each month to just that. December has been focused on effective listening and we wrap it up with a journey into self kindness.

What I learned about mindfulness in relation to effective listening is that being receptive to someone starts with a choice. Your choice. Being an effective listener starts with your own awareness to be alert and attentive in each moment and aware of how you are presenting yourself.

It’s not about who is speaking, rather it is about what you bring to each interaction. Every one of your interactions is telling of the way you chose to observe, feel, think, and respond to each situation and the people in it.

The mental state of mindfulness lets us see the world through multiple perspectives and go forward with higher levels of self-acceptance, tolerance, and self kindness.
— Susan A. David

Moving forward, what are some changes you can make in your attitude when it comes to those difficult conversations at work?

Before you speak, ask yourself:

      1. What is my need?

      2. What is the need of the other person?

      3. What purpose is this conversation serving:

        a) Helpful or harmful?

        b) Insightful or deprecating?

Self-acceptance is the door to moving forward. The power of acceptance in relation to effective listening lets itself be known when you decide to respond to what is and not to the expectation of what you want it to be. Perspective then stems from acceptance of another person’s viewpoint as you give yourself permission to show interest in it.

Growth in the conversation will occur when you are open to the possibility. Effective listening starts with understanding what your current perception is, and a willingness to release what you think, to create what you can learn.

Your attitude has more to do with what you listen to than the words you hear.
— Karen Biggar

Staying interested when someone is talking can be a challenge especially when you have numerous tasks to complete on your mind.

To help you stay focused in on the conversation ask yourself:

  1. What is interesting about this angle?

  2. What insight can I add to my thoughts on this?

  3. Where is there room to create and grow this perspective?

The true lesson of tolerance in relation to effective listening lies in having patience with yourself. Meaning the more you can portray that the goal of the conversation is to be effective as opposed to efficient, the more calmness you project in allowing others to take the time they need to get their points across.

Having tolerance is based on the principle “both our needs are important”. It is an approach to community fulfillment and not just individual performance. When you decide to fully engage in conversation with someone, you give yourself permission to take the time to reflect on the message that is being spoken and organize it in a way to give it meaning.  

Show interest in each conversation:

  1. Create an environment conducive to discussion.

      1. Clear away distractions.

      2. Allow the person to finish their thought without interrupting.

      3. Express appropriate non verbal cues:

        a) Eye contact.

        b) Sitting or standing parallel and not hovering.

        c) Relaxed posture.

Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.
— Peter Drucker

Self kindness in relation to effective listening can be expressed through conveying compassion to yourself and others by having a collaborative conversation. When you can take what was spoken, process it, and then explain it in a way as to create an understanding where there wasn’t one before, that’s significant. It signifies an understanding of the implied and an empathy for each others needs.

Acts of kindness provide the foundation for healthy workplace relationships and a sustainable community culture as it signifies recognition and value.

Acts of kindness in conversations can include:

  1. Saying a person’s name when speaking to them.

  2. Acknowledging their differing perspective by:

    a) asking them to expand on their thoughts.

    b) ask encouraging questions that build on self esteem.

  3. Saying thank-you  

Our 2019 wish for you is to Listen to your heart as there you will find compassion for yourself and others; Trust your gut instinct as it is in this intuitive thinking where courage makes itself known; and Lead with optimism as this trait has the ability to instill hope into a community.

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