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Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Understanding" to improve Every Relationship

"It is better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot."
-Anatole France
Unfortunately, judgment -- rather than understanding -- seems to come all too naturally and all too quickly for so many of us. We carry an imaginary measuring stick, automatically judging everything and everyone around us. And if others don't act the way we think they should, we get upset.
Well, that is not the way to effective communication or productive relationships. Understanding is the way.
In fact, conflict starts when understanding stops. That being the case, how can you become a more understanding individual or leader?
1. Recognize the power of understanding
Although it takes many different skills to build a team or a relationship, there is no skill any more important than your ability to understand the other person or other people. That's very obvious in sales, for example.
"The key to survival in relationships or even in the wilderness is understanding."
2. Withhold judgment
Certainly, there is a time for discernment and judgment, but in interpersonal relationships ... withhold judgment until comprehension is complete. In simple terms, don't pass judgment until you have all the facts. Don't jump to conclusions.
As one person said, "The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, side-stepping responsibility, and pushing their luck!" Again, that is not the way to effective communication or productive relationships.
3. When in doubt, check it out
One of the quickest ways to reach understanding is to say, "I don't understand." Or ask questions. It's far better to appear stupid than remain stupid.
4. Be gentle
Some people are not easy to like. Their behaviors are just plain obnoxious and offensive.
And you don't have to like everyone or approve of everything they do. That would be ludicrous. But you may have to live, work, or get along with those people.

One way to do that is to understand that all difficult behavior comes from a lack of self-esteem or a lack of skill. If the other person felt better about himself, or if the other person knew how to behave more appropriately, he would do better. So be a little bit more gentle in your judgments and a little bit more generous with your encouragement.
The bottom line is that successful people don't let other people's garbage become their destiny. They love the people who treat them right and pray for the ones who don't.
Finally, to become a more understanding person...
5.Look for the learning
Everyone you have ever met or will meet has a lesson for you. And you can learn that lesson if ... you're wise enough to slow down, listen, and understand ... instead of rushing to a stereotypical judgment.
"It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen."

One of the best, quickest, and easiest ways to improve your relationships on and off the job is to increase your ability to understand other people. After all, people yearn for understanding just like a flower yearns for the sun. Give the gift of understanding, and watch people blossom.

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