Listening as a Love Language

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Last week, a friend called to tell me that he had just gotten a plum job.

A few months ago, we’d had a couple of informal conversations about his job search. He, of course, did all the hard follow-up work. But, in the process, I got to do what I LOVE, which is to help someone jump to a new S Curve. In this case, the new S curve was a new job.

I was able to enjoy the sometimes elusive high that comes from feeling effective.

Recently, my husband shared that given his busy teaching schedule and other responsibilities, he felt he didn’t have enough time to exercise. I suggested he do just five minutes per day for a week. A few hours later, I heard him walking on the treadmill.

Honestly, I was surprised at how happy that made me–––turns out, others listening to and acting on my suggestions, is a love language for me.

The Feedback Effect

I talk a lot about being open to feedback, and how feedback for ourselves and for our teams can propel us up the S Curve of Learning.

Sometimes, though less often, I think about the impact our listening and acting on feedback has on the person who proffers it.

What I’ve learned from Heidi Grant and her terrific book, Reinforcements, is that people want and need to feel effective. When we listen to and act on someone’s feedback, and let them know that we did, they get to enjoy the high of feeling effective. When they feel effective, they feel competent, and thus move up their own S Curve faster.

Here are some recent suggestions I am acting on:

First, Charlene Li is our podcast guest this week and she talks about having a Customer Advisory Board––not only current customers, but the customers of our future. Because of her suggestion, our company is going to interview (5) future customers about their needs; what could we do to meet their needs.

Second, I’m acting on the advice of Luvvie Ajayi Jones. Luvvie is a past podcast guest with whom we did a high-spirited LinkedIn Live last week. She said she wants people to be ‘troublemakers,’ to ‘fight their fears’, and then she wants to hear about what they did. Specifically, she talks about speaking up when something feels off.

Luvvie advises we ask ourselves these questions: 1. Do I mean it? 2. Can I defend it? 3. Can I say it thoughtfully?

She also said, when you make trouble, fight your fears, and ask these questions, reach out to me…so Luvvie, I’m telling you, I listened, I've fought my fear just today––I'm listening to Luvvie’s language!

What about you?

Who might get to experience that emotional high of feeling effective because you’ve told them you listened and acted on their advice?

Make someone's day.

My best,
Whitney

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