A great way to strengthen self-esteem and encourage creativity.
Most of us have been in situations where we have an idea, something we think can add value to the conversation, but we are fearful to share it.
Somewhere in our past, we have been dismissed or even ashamed when we shared an idea or expressed what we think. Because of those painful and unfortunate moments, we learned to avoid sharing so we don't go through that unpleasant feeling once again. Unfortunately, we closed up, keep our ideas to ourselves, and become concerned of what other think. We lose our expressiveness and our authenticity.
Connections are grounded in trust, and trust develops through interactions where we can express ourselves and experience empathy, where we can find a place where our thoughts, what we want to share are heard. When we have space where the other side, the other person is capable of listening without judging and genuinely interested in our view, we trust, connect, express, and can show who we are. On the contrary, if when expressing ourselves, we find that the other side is opinionated, does not allow for us to share, is judgmental, has no capacity to be curious about our views we will shut down and crawl back to hiding. In these type of interactions, we slowly become concerned about what we say, how we say it, and what others' might think about us and what we have to express.
Been worried about what others think is normal. It could be that we care about the other and we don't want to upset or hurt them. That is normal and shows that we care for the other and what we have with them. The relationship is meaningful to us. But when that concern prevents us from saying what we think, expressing our wants or needs, our ideas, that is a problem. We are not expressing, there is no trust, and we are not connecting; we are not authentic. The dynamic could be ours only, but it also could be that the other person is not providing the conditions, so we feel safe, trusting, and heard. There is no empathy, no interest in what we have to say. There might be judgment, scolding, or even rejection. Here is where valuing others’ ideas is a great leadership tool.
It does not matter if we are in charge of a team, a company, our son’s football team, or even our house, talking to our children or interacting with our friends and love one, what matters is how do we interact and the space we provide for others to express themselves. In our interactions with others what we do, how we communicate and allow others to do so, how we listen, what we pay attention to, and many other factors play into how we connect with them.
Listening to others takes practice, but provides a valuable tool in our capacity to connect and how we view the other. It also can provide the framework where others in the interaction feel valued.
To value others, we also have to practice empathy; we have to be able to stay out of judgment and be able to see the other's perspective. When we do so, and the other felt valued and heard we strengthen the relationship. In that interaction, we are inviting the other to express their ideas, their concerns or whatever they need to say. By doing so, we are also inviting them to be more creative since they experience that what they are saying is important, is valued.
When we value others' ideas we are also strengthening our relationship, but most important their belief in their selves.