Luke Wilson returned to his mentorship series with local Mission of Hope Haiti interns to talk about the importance of a “seek to understand” mindset. This week he brought Kara Perez, a longtime banking professional, to help coach the future leaders. Luke encouraged students to “bridge the human gap” and pay attention to the people they interact with. That means noticing body language. It also means actively listening to others and focusing on what they say. He pointed out that you have to be interested and truly care about the perspective of others to communicate at a higher level.
Emotion and Ego
Luke explained that when you’re trying to understand another, you need to be aware of emotion and ego. He encouraged the students to avoid the negative aspects of both. Arrogant and fearful attitudes generally push people away, rather than encouraging understanding. He explained that success relies on positive relationships with friends, family and mentors. Those relationships require understanding of other people’s perspectives and tearing down walls of negativity.
Deep Dive into Active Listening
Start by focusing on what you think when you’re in a conversation. Stop composing your reply, and start listening deeply to what is being said instead. Hear and understand. Tune in with all of your attention and actively eliminate distractions. Next, focus on what you feel. Work on being empathetic. Look at where others are coming from and have compassion for them. Ask well thought-out questions, maintain eye contact, and be conscious of emotional undercurrents that could derail you.
What Do You Need?
When you’re actively listening, loosen your grip on your agenda and be considerate of the person you’re talking to. Try to understand the context of what the other person is saying and let them lead the way. Don’t interrupt or interpret, and avoid imposing your solution. Remember your goal is to understand not to control.
Three Life Tips
Kara followed Luke’s deep-dive with a conversation about how her “seek to understand” mindset has evolved over the years. She discussed three key life tips that she has found particularly effective.
- Adapt your style to those around you. For example, if you’re working with someone detail-oriented, then try to become more detail-oriented to help them, even if it’s not your style. And always remember the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Collaborate instead of giving orders. Nobody wants to be told the solution. Instead, work to figure it out together.
- Follow-up on everything. If you follow-up, you hold yourself and others accountable.
Seek First to Understand
During this important conversation with tomorrow’s leaders, Luke and Kara explained that success requires strong relationships with others. Active listening, exiling ego, and practicing empathy helps to cement these relationships in both the business and personal spheres. Are you seeking to understand in your relationships?
Tune in next week for more inspiration from Luke and the CallFire team!