Communication and Integrative Listening

It’s September, happy New Year! Don’t worry, I do know that the actual start of the year is January. Yet for many people, September signifies that start of a major work cycle and a return to more targeted communication. Summer vacations end, children go back to school, days are shorter, and there is a sense of urgency to produce, profit, and provide before the actual new year.

This is a good time of year for managers to pay attention to integrative listening. This is a psychological/behavioral skill that means paying attention to others using your whole self. Look people in the eyes when either of you speak, be sensitive to body language, and today, I would add, keep your phone in your pocket!

Leaders who practice integrative skills communicate with empathy, working to understand where the other person is coming from, even if they don’t agree with why the person feels or thinks that way. They watch the speaker’s body language and listen to their tone of voice. They understand that communication is more than words in isolation.  They learn to respond assertively, using I messages, owning their contribution to the process of communicating, and helping to involve the other parties in the process as well.  As people practice and employ these skills, they begin to appreciate what the other person brings to the table; relationships based on trust leading to more cohesive teamwork.

Now that we have all come back to work, physically and mentally and that “new year” sense of urgency has started to surge through our workplace, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of our behavior and practice integrative skills.  Recognize how our behavior impacts others. Are our ‘contributions’ really contributing to the growth of the team and the organization?  Or are we becoming a deterrent because of our lack of communication skills?  What do you need to focus on before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, 2016?

Want to learn more? Contact me at info@wisewaysconsulting.com

Wise Words Newsletter – read the rest of the September newsletter here!