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Vol. #08, Issue#92
August 2016

When I'm working from my home office I find I do better work if I take short breaks throughout the day.  Breaks that I enjoy the most are when I take time to walk my dogs, Oscar and Walter, in my subdivision. (See cute puppy pics, below.)

I hate to admit this but, when we're walking, there's one neighbor I always hope to avoid. Let's call her: Debbie Downer.

Recently, walking "my guys" and feeling very happy and in love with life. (I attribute much of my good mood to being consistent with my daily Tune in Time (TNT), even though I've been very busy.)

                 Tune In Time (TNT) is taking
 a minimum of 15 minutes every day
to pause, reflect, plan and/or think.

Before I could dart the other way Debbie Downer saw me, came over to us and started to talk (complain) about her 'crazy mom schedule'.  Only this time - I didn't feel frustrated with her.  I found myself listening without feeling impatient and restless.  I didn't try to mentally or physically run, and I  didn't try to interrupt, redirect or change her.  I just stood there and listened.

When she finished  her story, I did something I'd not done before: I acknowledged her feelings and offered support. I said something like, "Wow, it sounds like you're overwhelmed. And it also sounds like YOU are a great mom. You're doing so many good things for your kids."  I think she was surprised. She gave me a soft pleasant smile.  I noticed that her shoulders dropped and her rigid stance, relaxed.  I probably imagined this - but, it seemed like she was breathing easier, too.

I said good bye and felt humbled. That short exchange, one of probably a hundred different interactions that day, stuck with me.  It reminded me of the power of really seeing, caring, hearing and tuning into another person. Even though I focus on this in my coaching and I teach Listening Aggressively skills to leaders, I was still blown away by the power of acknowledgement and support.

  My Definition for Listening Aggressively:
A focus on hearing in a determined and energetic way. 
When you are doing this well, you demonstrate your

desire  to understand by asking questions and listening with
NO agenda other than to understand. 
Action Steps:  Reflect, Probe, Support, Advise.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Why You Should Never Tell Someone To Relax, they share how to help people who are stressed out, "It's a paradoxical fact: When someone is getting stressed out, one of the least effective (and perhaps most annoying) things to say is "Relax."  The directive has exactly the opposite effect on most people."

"People who instruct a colleague, subordinate or loved one to relax may have good intentions. But it is usually better to resist ordering people to change their emotional state and try a different strategy. To help calm someone who is stressed, acknowledge his or her feelings first by saying, "Looks like you're having a tough day." 

"Show empathy and ask open-ended questions such as "Tell me what's going on," to give the person a chance to talk about his or her feelings.  Other research shows that trying to hide or suppress an emotion, called "emotion suppression," typically backfires. When people are told to hide how they feel and try to clamp down on the emotion, "it actually leaks out more."

Do you have Debbie (or David) Downer in your life? Someone you want to mentally or physically run from every time you see them? The Gallup Organization shares that 7 out of 10 employees do not feel appreciated and are dis-engaged.  What would happen if you gave the gift of listening (a form of appreciation) to help everyone (including David/Debbie Downer) be more effective?

Be a great leader, coach or neighbor - get tuned up (take Tune in Time, 15 minutes a day = 91+ hours in a year) and Listen Aggressively.

Oscar 13 years old

Walter 4 months old

Oscar and Walter say,
"Hey, thanks for hanging
out with our mom.  
She speaks so highly of you!
Let's Stay in Touch"
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Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast Episodes:
LISTEN TO TWO Wake Up Eager Workforce podcasts.  One NEW podcast about finding the balance between challenge and support, and our very popular Episode 14 about being a best boss. See the Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast Directory, here.
Episode #26 Leader As Coach Skill:  High Support, High Challenge..  Interview w/  Co-author of: Challenging Coaching, Ian Day.
Find out about: The coaching skill - high support, high challenge;
What ZOUD is and how you can use it;  move from the Cozy Club or Stress interaction to the Loving Boot and high performance
Three barriers and more. Listen and Read the Show Notes, Now!
 Episode #14  Being a Best Boss - A Podcast Interview with VPHR Dr. Randy Reece
 Find out about: What Square One leadership is and how Randy used this to be a best boss; Why Randy asks questions to generate conflict and how questioning can improve engagement; One question that he asks every candidate;  How to Overcome Being a Gutless Leader and more. Listen and Read the Show Notes, Now!
justforfunThis Month - A Just for Fun Video
It's Not About The Nail!

This month's topic is focused on the power of two important actions in  Listening Aggressively - acknowledging (reflecting) and support.  

This can he hard when the answer to a person's problem can seem SO OBVIOUS to those of us without the problem (like the nail in this video).

BUT if people do not feel heard, acknowledged and supported - they CANNOT HEAR your smart answer or advice!  Also, as the WSJ article reminds us: when emotions are clamped down they leak out.  This is a funny, and oh so accurate, representation of what we all want leaders (and our spouses!) to do more of - listen.

Helping Leaders, Trainers and Consultants Build the Energy, Commitment and Communication in Organizations

Suzie Price
Priceless Professional Development

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