3D Juggling 515: My wife doesn't understand me
Jane writes: "In response to the statement ‘My wife doesn't understand me’ Marshall B Rosenberg asked ‘Do you understand your wife?’
How often do you think you know what another person is trying to say before they have finished speaking? How often do you get it wrong?
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I've been supporting the development of senior managers in a large public sector organisation. Several consistent themes have emerged about the culture within the organisation and I've heard a lot about what these managers would like to be different about it. One of the things that they want is for other people to hear them. Sometimes this need is grounded in a need to have leaders hear about their concerns and ideas, sometimes it is about getting other people to do what they are told.
I referred to Stephen Covey's 5th habit: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Simple, effective, but often very difficult to do.
These managers are under pressure to bring about significant changes that they don't always agree with. They understand the drivers for these changes and they accept the need for them to happen (they get it intellectually) however they are concerned about the impact of these changes on staff and service users (the practical and emotional impact). They want their concerns to be heard, and they seek a supportive response. Their expectation, based on experience, is that neither of these things will happen.
The story that helped them to accept responsibility for exploring and understanding the messages they are receiving came from Marshall B Rosenberg. They are now working out how to respond differently to the demands that are made of them, in ways that enable them to understand the pressures and needs of those who are doing the asking. They realise that those doing the asking are more likely to be willing to listen to concerns and ideas that acknowledge their needs.