When facing something new or challenging, it’s common to respond with resistance or feelings of overwhelm. Most everyone we connect with (including ourselves) is experiencing a compound of situations right now in the workplace, at home, and in the community. It may be more necessary now than ever before to slow down our conversations to ensure we are surfacing the obstacles and distractions people are experiencing before we can move forward.
In a recent virtual In Learning Session with clients, a leader questioned the complexities of returning to work. Rather than moving on, we paused. We recognized the importance and sensitivity of what was brought forward, and we asked each person in the session to think about what they were noticing in their spheres and what they were wondering about returning to work. Each person shared thoughtful and different perspectives that may have otherwise never been discussed. Everyone left the meeting with a new and deeper understanding of their peers and their roles, and the senior leaders received much needed data to inform their communications and decisions.
You can use noticing and wondering with your team, children, parents, students, clients, friends, partner, or yourself. We invite you to check in with those in your care during your next conversation. Consider what they may be struggling with and ask a noticing/wondering question. Here are some examples:
What are you noticing about your new online school experience? What are you wondering about this new way of being a student?
What are you noticing about the way we have chosen to pivot to meet new customer needs? What are you wondering about the future of our business?
What are you noticing about working from home and taking care of your family? What are you wondering about right now?
Remember to listen for understanding, not to respond or solve. Always acknowledge and appreciate what the person shared with you and respond respectfully in a way that shows they are valued and heard.