I found out in a personality test many years ago that my strengths include listening to others attentively. I knew that since young since I listened more than I talked ( kan tak baik menyampuk org tua2 bercakap!). I sensed it too when I was at school, college, Uni and at work, friends would talk to me and poured their hearts out. I was contemplating to sign up for school counsellor, but I chose to be the watchdog instead…the PREFECT!
My point of rambling today is the higher form of listening. Listen when the other one is not uttering any words. Silent. Numb. That’s the art I’m learning by the rope now. Not for business sake but more importantly to connect and understand others. Not just others, most importantly to listen to my kids when they are not talking, through their body languages. We often miss this most critical part of communication. That is when one is not saying anything but her body (loudly wants to) project the emotions or actual feelings. First we missed the body language, then second phase where we do notice it but we choose to dismiss it just because we may think its unimportant or we don’t want to be confrontational?
What happen when we dismiss that feeling projected thru the body language? Some may be forgotten over time but some feelings maybe accumulated and amount to emotional outburst one day when the time is just right to prick. Why wait for emotional outburst or worst when its too late to mend the relationships? I have my fair share as middle child. I love my parents till Jannah, and yes I wouldn’t ask for any other Ayah and Mama. I read a lot on parenting, pyshchology articles. So I understood why I have and continue to experience the middle child syndrome. My parents not to be blamed, and so many other parents. Parents just human and the tendency to favour is just natural. Especially when one child is an open arm kisses and hugs, excellent PR skills while another one sits quietly in the corner like me!
Now the onus is on parents. To understand one child is different from another. When a child show irresponsive verbal communication but their body languages is telling us something else, its mom and dad’s role to act on it first. We can’t expect nor wait for our child, even our charges at work, your downlines, to come and express themselves. A simple question to ask how they are, will do to break the ice (tho my kiddos challenged me even further, it took me many many questions and hugs before they can open up!). That’s the mental note I keep telling myself especially when I get upset seeing any of my kids being (timely) irresponsive to me. Before I jump the gun, I ought to be the bigger person, detach my own feelings and dig deeper find out why they’re acting as such. It could be me, being ignorant or it could be them, being too sensitive. The reasons why is not as important as what we’re going to do about it so we can understand each other better. The same mental note applies in business too where I have definitely more than 3 children..thus more challenges when it comes to listening to each and everyone of them especially when they are quiet. All boils down to leadership. A great leader listens well. And the key is to listen the silence. Why do we need to listen the silence? Because that’s where we find out the hard truth most times. The loud won’t necessarily tell us what we need to know. It’s more like what we want to hear. But the silence will reveal the much needed truth to improve our inner self. So listen, listen, listen.