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1-Page Summary of I Hear You

At a Loss for Words

When you’re frustrated, it’s hard to get your point across. You may feel like the other person is not listening or cares about what you have to say. Giving up on making things better can lead to anger and disengagement. Here are some ways to change that dynamic:

  • You’re unhappy with your current situation and see a pattern of repetition.

  • If you feel like changing something in your life but can’t, it’s time to take action. You need to try harder and be more patient. Don’t think that the problem is with someone else, because they’re not perfect either.

It Starts with You

Wendy felt that Kevin’s a slacker and always leaves early. She thinks he shifts difficult assignments to her and doesn’t do his part in the office. They had a fight about it, which didn’t go well because when she challenged him, he became defensive. Now Wendy believes that they’re equally at fault for their conflict, even though she feels like Kevin should be more responsible than her.

Wendy was frustrated with Kevin because he left work early. She felt like he wasn’t pulling his weight and that she had to pick up the slack for him. The coach wanted Wendy to realize that she could change her behavior to be more productive, so she suggested considering Kevin’s viewpoint, knowing why he was leaving early, discussing work-life balance with him or her manager, or slowing down and refusing more work than she could handle.

People often feel like victims and become stuck in that mindset. If you stop feeling like a victim, you can make positive changes to yourself. People are more likely to mirror the emotions of those around them. If you approach someone angrily, they will be hostile towards you as well. The same is true for empathy: if you show empathy towards another person, they are more likely to work with you on a solution or problem rather than getting angry or defensive about it.

Some people claim that their bosses, subordinates, co-workers or clients are extremely difficult to deal with. However, most of the time these situations aren’t as extreme as they seem. The main reason for such problems is miscommunication. If you want to make your workplace better and communicate more effectively, try changing what you say or how you say it in a given situation.

“Shifting Perspective”

Kent was a great trial lawyer, but he wasn’t good at managing his clients. One of his partners suggested that he get some outside help. Kent told his coach, “I’m their lawyer not their therapist. My job is to win their case not deal with their emotions.” During a coaching session, Kent received a phone call from his doctor and had an epiphany after realizing how the doctor behaved similarly to how he treated his own clients.

Kent admitted: “I never looked at it like that before”

Perspective is how you view the world. It’s hard to analyze your perspective because it feels like objective reality. However, there are many different perspectives that can be applied to any situation. Each perspective is valid, even if they conflict with each other.

You want people to feel that you understand their point of view. You don’t want them to think you’re being condescending, so the wider the gap between your beliefs, the more difficult it is for you to see things from someone else’s perspective. Avoid patronizing attitudes by telling yourself a story about what they might be thinking if they had different beliefs than yours. This can help if their views contradict yours and make it easier for you to understand their perspective better.

  • You can make the other person the narrator if you ask them questions and encourage them to talk about themselves. You want to find out how what they’re giving you is of value to them, and then show that it’s also valuable for you. “Make the other person the hero” by assuming their intentions are good even when your counterpart might be trying to get one over on you or just being a jerk. The opposite way of doing this is “Make yourself the villain” by making your counterpart look like a great guy who helps everyone he meets, which makes him or her better than anyone else in your organization.
I Hear You Book Summary, by Michael S. Sorensen