Listen. Discover. Reflect
Last updated March 17, 2020 by Jonathan Mills
Validation is one of a few emotional concerns that are integral to a healthy employer-employee relationship. Employees regularly need it to help establish their value within a company, motivate a positive attitude, and manage feelings of isolation. When an employee is validated they are more productive, cooperative, trustworthy, and loyal; and when they feel misunderstood it contributes to workplace aggression, a dynamic leading to conflict, poor performance, absenteeism, bullying, and unethical behavior.
Mastering something like validation takes time and commitment, but it also has a simple beginning. The “LDR Method”, inspired by Fisher and Shapiro’s Beyond Reason, is an easy cheat for remembering the fundamentals of active validation. It is the process of receiving, understanding, and appreciating someone else’s point of view.
The LDR Method: Listen Actively, Discover Merit, then Reflect Validation.
As the other person speaks, mentally restate or rephrase what they say. The act of thinking it back to yourself keeps you engaged and improves your understanding and retention. Also take note of the other person’s body language and inflection.
Look for merit in their position, starting with the assumption that they’re feelings come from a valid place. Validating an alternative point-of-view helps you think and feel more rational while also preparing you to respond positively.
Tell the other person about the merit you see in their point-of-view. They will feel safe and ready for collaboration if they know that they have been truly heard.
The LDR method is a good start, but creating a culture of validation would be even more powerful. Consider adopting these two strategic objectives to posture your organization for greater collaboration, reduced conflict, and effective alignment.
Objective 1: Adopt an appreciation for diverse perspectives.
Encourage managers and employees to listen to each others’ experiences. Ask them to identify the value in those experiences and the unique contributions that they bring.
- Develop Personas (diagrammed audiences): Survey personal experiences from multiple divisions and levels of the organization and write a few high-level personas. These personas should describe the breadth of employee experiences and backgrounds. Use them to educate your teams and executives about the makeup of your firm.
- Role Reversal: Setup team discussion groups and give them the challenge question, “What life-choices would you have made if you had someone else’s backstory?” Use some prepared examples or personas to get things going.
Objective 2: Create shared employee experiences.
Create opportunities for shared experience. Use corporate group-think as a healthy, productive cultural dynamic.
- Storytelling: Document or invent company language, stories, and idioms that have a common meaning. It will help employees use a shared language and help capture past experiences.
- Quarterly Events: Schedule cross-division, multi-level experiences at least once a quarter. Create a calendar of events well in advance and remind employees of past and future events. Maintain a backlog of options based on cost, location, and participants so you are prepared to keep the ball rolling.
Fostering great culture is a journey and you and your team are fully capable of steering your organization toward a happy, healthy future. Corporate Culture Specialist offers insights and resources to help you get there. Get to know us by scheduling a call or sending an email.