Understanding others

Welcome to the third part of Understanding in the TRUE Leaders Programme. Below you will find the video, audio and a transcript as well as a link to the worksheet. 

Worksheet (to download)

Video transcript

Hello again and welcome back to Understanding as part of the TRUE Leaders Programme. So, so far, we have thought about what understanding means to us and we started to understand ourselves. This video is going to be about understanding other people. This is where I think it brings in both aspects of the definition of understanding. It is about understanding other people but it is also about how to be understanding for other people and towards other people. This is the part that I think is incredibly important when we start to think about how we work with others. Whether that is in the workplace, whether that is in our family life, whether that is in the voluntary work that we do, or any kind of group situation, and by group, I just mean two or more people. In order for that to work effectively, there needs to be a shared understanding of each other and that can be something that can make or break something going well or not well.

What I would like to focus on in today's video is about how we can understand other people and how we can enable other people to understand us. So we started that with the previous video around understanding ourselves and then sharing that with other people, the more that we are able to show our real selves to other people, the more that they will be able to understand us. That means that they will be able to understand how we behave and perhaps the reasons behind that and they will be able to support us. Then when we recognise that we have shared values and shared goals, then we are able to work together because we understand each other. Enabling other people to understand us is one thing and then also understanding others and to be an understanding person and that is as much about us as it is about them. That is something we are in control of. We cannot control other people, what we can control is our own behaviour, our own reactions to things, and how we are towards other people.

That is where I think today's video comes in, around the importance of understanding others. Some of that might be listening. I wanted to share briefly some reminders about listening. Those of you who have ever done any work on developing your listening skills may be familiar with the different levels of deep listening and active listening. Listening is quite often something that we do whilst we are waiting to speak, and we are listening out for certain bits of the conversation. Maybe we are listening out for things that we can relate to, that we can respond to. Maybe we are listening out for keywords that we understand, that we can hook on to. When we are in that phase of sort of active listening or deeper listening, then we are truly listening to what is being said. Also, what is not being said and the specifics of that person and what they are wanting to share with us. It could be non-verbal communication. It could be the words that they use. It is just about really switching off our mindset of what we want to say and what we are thinking about and really switching on the listening. So we are actively listening to what they are saying.

That is part of today because one way to understand people is to actively listen to what they are sharing with us. You may wish to, if this is something you have not much practice with, you may wish to spend some of today's focus listening and really actively listening to other people. You can do that without them really recognising. One of the ways - we spoke a little bit about reflecting, one of the ways you can show that you are truly listening is to reflect back people's words to them. It encourages them to continue the conversation without adding any of your own stuff. It is enhancing them. That will help you gain a deeper understanding of where they are at, who they are, what they are about, what is on their mind. That is the first part.

The second part is about actively asking people. It is about being open and curious. It is sometimes tricky to get the balance right with this because we do not want to be too nosy and remembering that-- we will come onto this a little bit more in the next video, but there are certain things that we do not need to gain an understanding of because it is not our responsibility but there are some things where it is helpful to have that understanding. So it is about getting that balance right. One thing that we may want to do to help us understand others is to ask in an open and curious way more about their life, more about their views, their opinions, their way of doing things, and just be open to hearing those things. Especially when we are working with other people, it can be really advantageous to understand who they are. You may want to, for example, do a similar exercise to what we did in the previous video around understanding who you are and share that with each other so that you gain a deeper understanding of who we think ourselves are. Then you can maybe share, "I have also noticed this about you. This is something I admire about you." It just helps to share that understanding of other people. That is the second part. It is quite a meaty one today because there is a third part as well.

The third part is about how can you be more understanding. Again, this is something that you can act out in all parts of your life. You can think about what is it that you can do to be understanding to others. How can you show empathy to other people? How can you be there for the people, support other people, and be an understanding friend, colleague, partner, father, mother, daughter, son, sister, brother? Whatever that dynamic is, how can you bring an understanding part of yourself to that dynamic?

Those are the three parts today, thinking first about understanding others by listening, understanding others by sharing and encouraging them to share more, and then, how can you be more understanding. How can you start doing that in everyday life? Not just in your closer relationships with colleagues and family, but even when you are out and about meeting other people, how can you be more understanding? Maybe it is with other drivers on the road. Maybe it is with people that you see when you are in shops. Wherever that might be, how can you be more understanding?

Those are the three parts to understanding others. I can see this is quite a big topic. So, whichever bits are standing out to you, has been the most important to you, the things where there is a bit of a stretch but something that you can see a real advantage of to you, please focus on those things. Adapt the programme to make it worthwhile for you and make it most valuable for you. So, that is understanding others. In our next part, we will think about understanding situations. I will see you then. Enjoy this part and I will see you in the next one soon.

Audio (to stream or download)