Photo by Ugne Vasyliute on Unsplash.
Unfortunately, we’ve all experienced the feeling of having been seen, heard, understood, and ignored. This dismissive combo leaves us with a terrible feeling that is alienating and erodes trust.
Oftentimes, this feeling is inadvertently created when intending to include others on the path to doing the right thing. The harmful impact occurs when the path is abandoned too soon.
Perhaps the work is done to see, hear, and understand. Conversations, consultations, assessments, external reviews, feedback forms, listening circles, even apologies. But often the work stops there. After all, people were given a seat at the table, right?
But were they then swiftly asked to leave before the real conversation began? If that’s the case, this work was merely performative. Lip service at best. It leaves people wondering why they were invited to sit at the table in the first place.
If you’re truly seeking to include others and earn trust, there is more work to be done.
“I see you, I hear you, and I understand. And because I do and I care about you, here’s how this will be reflected in what happens next – in action. And here are the commitments to doing things differently that we are going to make and keep.”
For people to feel included and appreciated, seeing, hearing, and understanding must be followed by action, by making and keeping commitments. This is an inclusive process that builds trust.
We can’t always translate someone’s input into the action, but we can help them feel valued and appreciated for their contribution even if it is not incorporated into next steps.
“Thanks for your thoughtful input. We’ve made the decision to go this direction, which is different from the path you suggested, and here’s why. Even though this might not be the outcome you were hoping for, we hope you can help us move forward together and keep us accountable.”
As you seek to unleash and include others, be mindful not to abandon the path early. Yes, the journey to inclusion is a little bit longer, but it’s worthwhile and leads the way to a better future.