The Value of Sharing

How good are you at sharing with your work colleagues or team? What about at home? We had a training day for our facilitators this week and what really hit home for Rose and I was the value of sharing. As a matter of course on our sessions and our trainings we review what has happened for people since our last meeting and we actively encourage people to share their experience. On this occasion someone was sharing their experience, but she couldn’t quite pin it down. When someone else spoke about what happened to them, the first person had a big Ah ha moment. We see this happening all the time; one person understanding their own thoughts and feelings because someone else articulates something very similar.

You may ask “so what?” There are two big reasons to create this kind of interaction: learning and engagement.

Learning

If you want your business or your personal life to be expanding, then expansion requires growth, which means that you and your teams need to be learning from what is happening. Learning comes from a mixture of knowledge, experience and reflection. A sharing interaction increases all three of these features.

Engagement

When you create an environment where people feel safe to share their thoughts and experiences, you will find that they feel heard and supported. When your staff or your family or friends feel heard they will be much more engaged your relationships will blossom and everyone will feel happier.

So how do we create the kind of environment where people can share?

You have got to want to

You can’t manipulate this, you genuinely need to care about it. If you are doing it purely for the bottom line people will know. If you are doing it because you want to create a great working/home environment and you really care about the people concerned, then they will feel that too.

Set the ground rules

Make sure everybody knows the rules. Decide what the boundaries are for you. Is this just about work stuff or can people bring up whatever they want? Make sure everybody knows it is not ok to criticise others, and DO NOT tolerate it, if you see it happening and don’t stop it, you will blow any efforts you have put in to creating a sharing environment.

Learn to listen

Other people experiences and problems are so much easier than our own. As someone is talking it is really easy for us to be having an internal conversation about what they are saying and what it means. We can easily see the fixes for other people, or have opinions on what they just said. Often simply waiting for the next pause so we can butt in rather than concentrating on that person and what they are saying. To really listen rather than simply preparing our response is an absolute skill. Encourage everyone to practice it and don’t be frightened of silence. Silence is good, silence is creative, silence makes space for the things that people really want to say.

Mind your language

Encourage everyone to take ownership of what their experience is. “What I am feeling is..”, “What I am noticing is…” and a really powerful one “the story I am telling myself is…” When we use language that is about us we are not pointing a finger or laying blame, we are simply being honest about what something is like for us. With this kind of language other people can listen and notice their experience, without anyone feeling at fault or taking the blame.

Why not try experimenting and see what happens when you encourage the people around you to really share and really be heard.

Good luck – I am excited for you!

written by

Ruth Steggles