Thursday, August 24, 2006

Everyone wants to be LUVEd!

I had a posting on Scott Berkun's project management (pmclinic) list that was rather well received. I thought folks here might be interested in it ...

Someone else had written:
> I've found that powerful people respect people who do not back down from them. Make your point forcefully.

I responded with:
That could backfire really badly! That might work with some, for others it will only make things worse. Either way, what they are looking for is respect for their perspective. They want to be LUVed:
  • Listened to,
  • Understood, and ...
  • Valued.
Making any assumptions about what it means to them to be LUVed and what behaviors they feel demonstrate LUV could easily be jumping to conclusions down a very wrong and unconstructive path.

Chances are the "annoyance" is because, somewhere, somehow, the two people involved have different notions of what it means to feel respected and to be treated respectfully and be LUVed. What you regard as disrespectful and disruptive may seem just the opposite to him. He may feel that by giving what you say substantial thought and vocalization on multiple sides to be an act of mindfulness rather than dissension.

I would suggest getting together one-on-one for an open, honest, and candid yet compassionate discussion about what each of you need and what you should/can expect from one another. Dont attribute feelings/motives/intent to him, instead describe his (or her) actual, factual, observed behavior and how it makes you feel, what that makes you think, and its consequences/impact on you and others.

Something is certainly out of alignment between the two people in question, but it may not be objectives or intent, but rather differences in values and belief as to what constitutes respect, progress (versus disruption) and what things are most/more important for overall success.

So in terms of advice, I would add an 'E' to the end of the LUV acronym to make it LUVE: Listen, Understand, Value/Validate, Empathize:
  • Listen attentively to what the other person has to say
  • Understand it to the best of your ability (you don't have to agree with it, just "seek first to understand")
  • Value/Validate what was said. That doesn't mean agreeing with it; It does mean finding the value in it and validating that value to the speaker.
  • Empathize with the speaker. Try to identify the feelings they are experiencing and demonstrate your understanding of it, and that it is okay for them to have those feelings.
I wish it was as easy to do habitually as it was to write about. If I could develop the above habit, I would be 10X more effective in both my personal and professional life!

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