THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Part 5

Posted by | November 08, 2012 | Thursday Thoughts | No Comments

“Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood”

This is an interesting week, and focusses on the key starting point of influence – to understand the person you are trying to influence first, then to convince from an alternative point of view.

Everyone has a natural tendency to rush in and try to give advice or try to fix thinbgs before taking the time to diagnose or try to understand why the other person feels the way they do.  The trick however, is to seek first to understand the other person, then to try and be understood yourself.

Effective listening is the key, and few have training in this field compared with the number of years we spend learning how to read and write. We see this skill in may professions:

  • lawyers gather facts to understand situations;
  • engineers will understand forces and stresses to design a structure;

The key to good judgement must be preceded by sound understanding.  Getting the order of this wrong will cost you!

Last week we discussed win/win strategies: these require high degrees of both consideration and courage and the recipe is as follows:

  • seek first to understand; (to understand requires consideration)
  • then try to be understood yourself; (to be understood requires courage)
  • maturity is the balance of courage and consideration;

The Greeks cracked this early on via thier philosophy of : Ethos, Pathos and Logos.

  • Wthos is your credibility, integrity and competency;
  • Pathos is the feeling – being in emotional alignment with the other person, ie: empathetic listening; and
  • Logos is the logic, the reasoning element.

The order is important, judge lastly!  Seeking first to understand is well within your personal control, you can do it right now, today!  So go on, start this one immediately and see how it goes.

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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

Improvement is everyone's concern: +44 1550 720902 will start that process today.

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