The 7 Habits Book Series Review: Habit #5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Posted on 03.27.2019
The Achilles Team recently read through “7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey”. Last week, we discussed the fourth Habit, “Think Win-Win”.
This week, we’re touching on Habit Five, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”.
Most people seek to be understood, before seeking to understand. Sometimes, when we listen to others, we are thinking about what questions we are going to ask, or what we are going to say next. By doing this, we aren’t truly listening. And if we aren’t truly listening, we won’t fully understand. We won’t really get to know the person or what they are trying to tell us.
Covey emphasizes the importance of setting aside our own autobiographies, so we can truly learn. When we listen to others, we lean on our own autobiographies. We evaluate, we probe, we advise, and we interpret. When we evaluate, we lean on our own judgments to determine if what they are saying is right or wrong. We ask questions to help us determine our own concerns. We counsel from our own perspectives, and we interpret from our preconceived values and experiences. This is dangerous because it can lead us to assume what others mean before they are done communicating it. By developing emphatic skills, we can create an openness to understand others.
Achilles Team Member, Monica Scott, comments, “This is something many of us struggle with. It’s easy to lean on our experiences or thought processes to assumedly ‘fix a situation’. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing… but it can become an issue when other opinions are unknowingly undermined or overlooked. We need to make a conscious effort to recognize the values and opinions of those around us because they will strengthen us!”
By laying the groundwork to consciously understand others, we open the door to creativity, solutions and teamwork. This leads us into the sixth Habit we will share next week, “Synergize”.