When Someone Doesn’t Listen
When Someone Doesn’t Listen To Or Do Anything You Have To Say Right
You’ve no doubt had a point in your life when someone told you what to do, and you did it wrong, and you got scolded for it, right? We’ve almost had someone want to throw their hands up at us and say “Why don’t you ever listen to me?”
Whether you are in a supervisor, manager or leadership type role, or even just in a relationship, or you are a mom or dad trying to get your child to behave; when you have to communicate something to someone and they get it wrong or seemed not to listen… it’s your fault.
“my child never listens…” or “…this employee never does anything right”
My original mentor taught me a very valuable lesson in the spring of 2007. I usually felt terrible when I made a mistake, and he was a meticulous boss, he did not make mistakes and he researched and analyzed everything he did. He used to say to me “Thomas, if I take this report am I going to find any mistakes?” and I’d say “No.” to which he would reply… “Would you bet your life that there are no mistakes in this report?”, and I’d say after a minute…”No.”, and he would say “Please go back and redo this until you can hand it to me and bet your life on it.”
Some people might think that is harsh, and for me, really wanting to impress him and do a great job, it was terrible. There were twice when I was so disappointed in myself after getting his criticism on something that I thought was gold, that I actually went to the beach down the street to have a good cry, lol, and I was 26 years old.
So, after half a year of brutal interactions and seeing that I wasn’t giving up but was still just internally depressed, he said “Thomas, when you make a mistake, it’s not totally your fault, it’s mine. I need to be a better communicator. While I can see this is hard for you, it’s hard for me too because I know that if I truly communicated the instructions to you clear enough, you’d make far fewer mistakes.
He said good bosses and managers take personal responsibility for their communication skills, bad bosses blame others.
It’s not that you didn’t listen, it’s that I didn’t explain it clearly enough. So every time you make a mistake, I know I need to work better on being a more effective communicator.
That lesson stuck with me for the rest of my life. I have never once since had an argument or debate or communication gone wrong where I didn’t analyze how I could have said it better so the message was better understood, and it, along with some other lessons, has turned me into an amazing communicator.