Friday, October 22, 2021

Active Listening: Don’t Discount Feelings

One of the biggest faults many of us have is the need to fix things when we hear about something that has gone wrong. When we get some bad news or information about a bad situation, we often try to follow it up with, it’s not so bad,” or “it could be worse.” While this may seem like a helpful response, it can actually cause more damage than good because it makes the other person feel as though their feelings about the situation are invalid or void. 

This response gives the impression that you are not necessarily listening to the problem but trying to brush it aside and discount their feelings altogether. When a person is speaking about something for which they feel strongly, whether it is regarding work or personal situations, it is important to recognize that it is the way they feel and that they are entitled to feel that way. Instead of trying to smooth the problem over, listen to what the person is saying and how they are feeling, and offer support. Let them know you are there to help and can always lend an ear. They will appreciate the gesture much more than any half-hearted solution or smooth-over phrase.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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