If you don’t readily recognize this movie reference (remember I’m a BIG movie fan!), think back to Beverly Hills Cop with Eddie Murphy and the scene in which he stuck his fingers in his ears and said the line to his partner. He didn’t want to hear what the guy was saying and physically blocked it out with his fingers and his voice by saying “La-la-la-la-la-la-la”. Have you ever felt that way?
Ha! Of course you have. There are times when people are talking and we are just DONE listening. Either we don’t like what they have to say, don’t want to hear their feedback or maybe we’re just overstimulated and done! Either way, there are times when others don’t have the bandwidth to listen. Rather than covering this up, why don’t you simply tell people something like the following:
– Now is really not a good time for me to listen intently to you. I’m very distracted at the moment. Squirrel!
– I wish I were wearing my listening leader hat right now, but I’m just not. Can we have this conversation another time?
– I hear you, but unfortunately because of all that is in my head at the moment, I am not getting your message very well. Can you repeat it in a different way?
– Or, my all-time favorite: My listening filter needs cleaning right now. Can we talk a bit later when it is clear and I’m able to hear the message you are intending to send?
Now, if you say any of these to your boss and you are reprimanded as a result or say them in a way that is snide, sarcastic, snarky or offensive, then loud and clear, my name is Cindy – C-I-N-D-Y and I’m not responsible for your outcome. 😀 But seriously, you have every right to assert yourself and admit when your room for one more message is low. Most would rather hear an honest piece of feedback of this nature, then assume you heard the message, and expect you to act on it, only to have to follow up with disappointing results later or be disappointed that you did not take the action they were requesting, later. You don’t have to be at 100% in your listening skills all the time, but it’s not fair to fake that you are either and give other people that impression, particularly if they’re counting on you. Would you agree?
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.