Are you listening the message behind the message?

Are you listening the message behind the message?

  • 22 June 2020
  • By Our Subject Matter Experts

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Listening has become important than ever. In today’s uncertain times, to get the most out of your teams, depends a lot on how and how much you listen to them. Most of the times when I start any training session or a meeting with my teams, I start with asking them to share the two emotions they are feeling in that current situation.

Most of the people say that they do not know what they are feeling in that moment however, in their hearts they know that things are not quite right. The challenge for leaders in these situations, is to stop for a while, invest time in understanding what is going on in the lives of their people. This is imperative, especially in the uncertain times of today.

As a leader, you need to listen to your people with double effort and understand the message behind the message being conveyed. And I know, this requires due diligence and lots of effort.

In our leadership development trainings, we teach people the three important skills – goal setting, diagnosing, and matching. In all of these areas, as a leader, you must understand where your people are coming from.

In my view, when you attempt goal setting, you must prefer radical prioritization. In today’s critical times, people are already struggling coping up with the sudden and not-so-friendly environment of working. Leaders can help them by understanding their current state of mind by asking them different open-ended questions like what’s happening in their personal lives, are they ok managing both; personal and professional lives, how are they managing, is there anything that you can help them with and so on.

Listening to their answers will help you realize their struggles and help them prioritize their work accordingly.

The reason why I call it a radical prioritization is because now-a-days, as we wake-up, we immediately get into the pool of our to-do’s. So, once you are done with prioritizing or setting goals for your teams, you are now set for the second skill: diagnosis. Again, listening plays a very important role here also. If not heard properly, you are likely to misdiagnose the level of your people on a particular task or a project.

Once, you are done with the diagnosis, you are ready to implement the third skill: matching. It is time to wear a different kind of hat for each situation your people are in. For example, if your people are skilled enough for a particular job, but they aren’t aware of the company norms or the do’s and don’ts, while dealing with different people, I’d guide them using a directing or a coaching hat and share my expertise with them. While on the other side, if I see my people are capable and just going through a temporary situation, I will wear a supportive or a delegating hat. Our role as people leaders is not easy; we manage people’s emotions, energies, mental and emotional health while helping them grow and achieve individual and business goals.

No matter what situation your people are in, the only way out is to be a very good listener and remember to ask relevant questions that help them talk and discuss more with you. Few questions can be – what is your take on this? What else you think we can do? Or who do you want to discuss this with? How can I help? and so on…and do not forget to acknowledge and celebrate each little success your people achieve during these tough times. It is imperative to keep their morale high amid these times of economic, emotional, and professional ambiguities.

I would like to invite you to check out our series of upcoming events and complimentary webinars to learn more about a structured model of holding these conversations. Click – ‘link’


Yogesh Sood

This blog is an adaptation of a blog written by Ms. Vicki Stanford on 28th May


Yogesh is the founder and CMD of BYLD Group. BYLD is the largest group in the South Asian region, offering value-added services in HR, Leadership /Organizational Development, Business Operations, Manpower Staffing, Technology, and Executive Coaching. He leads the board of Indian operations of Blanchard Research and Training, Door Training and Consulting, VitalSmarts (LCPL), YOMA group and Aspectum Consulting, Finland. These organisations have expertise in complete organisational development and performance enhancement solutions, including Consulting/Training/Coaching. Yogesh is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and College of Executive Coaching USA. He founded the first ICF (International Coach Federation) chapter in South Asia in 2015.