The best way to provide emotional first aid to others is often just to listen. Our problem, we listen to respond more often then listening to just learn so we can support. Sophie Andrews has a great lesson for us in this Ted Talk. It’s a little longer than I usually post for a video, but at just under 15 minutes, it’s a good one. Here’s what she has to share:
Behind every great story teller is usually always a great listener. Be a Samaritan by active listening. We can learn a lot from helpline advocates like Sophie. With more and more of our friends and family feeling more isolated than ever we need more great listeners. Even with the information access we have at a touch in our pockets and we even have a immediate social circle within reach anytime we want, people are increasingly more alone than ever.
This simple act of being a great listener as a leader is critical. Our people need a “catcher” and a very simple human connection. We make the easy mistake thinking a great leader needs to be someone who gives advice. However, we can make a much more powerful impact to those around us by listening to our teams. We need so stop priming for the pause in the chat to give our worldly advice. They don’t need advice, they just need someone to share and hear them out. They need a “catcher.” Someone they can trust and a relationship that wants to learn from their shares.
But I guess in a world dominated by professionalizing everything we do, I really understood that that simple act of listening could have such a life-changing effect. I guess it’s a simple concept that can be applied across all areas of life. – Sophie Andrews
A couple ways we can practice this is to listen without judgement. As much as possible the only time we talk should be used to seek to understand by asking more questions then giving answers. This is the best way we can help.
You were made with two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk.
You never know what’s behind the call your people share with you. Just listen. Be an incredible leader with your silence. You can be just the lifeline someone needs. After all, isn’t that one of the best things about being a leader that inspires you? Being that person someone can lean into and learn?
Be a silver line for someone. Hope you have a incredible weekend. Thanks for reading!