Yesterday I had the joy of getting my second cavity ever filled. Feeling a roller coaster of emotions during my visit, I reflected on the experience during my drive home. One minute I was comfortable and smiling… another minute almost passing out and being left alone in the room. The rollercoaster experience linked to the concepts within the Bronze Leadership Challenge program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Even though the five group coaching sessions are offered as “separate” items, a colleague explained that the sessions are
More like a jigsaw puzzle…. Each session is an individual piece which when combined with the other pieces makes a complete puzzle.
I believe the key aspect is that the pieces should complement each other, or elicit the best in the others and work in harmony with the other pieces.
When the dentist first walked in my room, he gave me a friendly smile and asked “How are you?” I proceeded to share “Great, especially since I graduate with my MBA on Friday.” He took off his goggles and looked intently at me and said, “Really? That’s awesome….” I didn’t feel like anyone else was in the room.
Aha, that’s exactly one of the examples we use in the Active Listening workshop. More specifically, Former President Bill Clinton was an amazing listener. People who spoke with him reported feeling as if they were the only one in the room.
Now how does actively listening affect our relationships with our friends, family members, and colleagues? When the Dentist removed his goggles and shared one minute to listen to my story, I felt valued. As leaders, by actively listening, we can build relationships through individuals feeling valued. Now, how powerful is that?
Not listening can adversely affect our relationships. After the assistant injected Novacain into my gum to prepare for the filling, I felt odd. My hands started tingling and chest pounded. Oh No! I communicated to the Assistant: “I think I’m going to pass out.” She comes over, stares at me and asks questions. After a couple minutes, I felt a little better but still not 100%. What happened next shocked me! She said “Okay, I’m going to leave. I’ll be back.” Are you serious?! I just about passed out and you’re going to leave me in a room by myself? Oh that makes sense. Couldn’t she have at least asked me, “Katelyn, I need to get something. Are you okay with me leaving the room? Or would you like me to ask someone else.” We often talk about the power of questions. Well at that moment of time, I saw it in full bloom. How can you ask a question to build someone up, rather than using a directive comment that tears them down?
Speaking of building people up, one of my core values is community which I identified in the What is leadership? session. Community to me is fostering the relationships around me. I strive to facilitate a positive environment where everyone can feel comfortable and learn and grow together. During the procedure, the Dentist was very directive in his communication to the assistant. He would use one or two word orders for instruments. At one point, he firmly said “irrigation.” Besides feeling like a human lawn with a manual irrigation system, I was intrigued. Intrigued because after a couple seconds, he said in an even firmer voice, “irrigation!” No “please” was involved or question as to why it wasn’t immediately handed over. The Assistant, a bit frazzled responded with a few stutters and said “Yes, I know.” After about another 5 seconds, which felt like a lifetime, she stuck the irrigation system in my mouth.
Since community is fundamental to who I am, it extremely bothered me how he treated his Assistant. I didn’t feel like he treated her with human dignity…he didn’t make her feel valued. As I mentioned in Quiet Leadership, we can build people up by treating them as where we see they can be.
Values. Actively Listening. If you remember three words from this post, I hope those are it. Incorporate them and see positive transformation.