When we begin to discuss problems, solutions are not the first-word selection used to describe the next steps. Often a few sentences full of explanations, excuses, and finger-pointing or blame are used. When you try to make sense of issues you face, utilizing some of your senses is needed!
Our senses can help with many aspects of our problem-solving and solving issues before they develop into bigger ones. Can you think of a time you utilized your senses to find solutions?
One of my former bosses and mentors told me I was a good listener. As we discussed listening to stories of upset parents or others, we identified how vital listening was to these situations. Individuals needed to “see”; we were “hearing” them.
When you find yourself in a situation where an individual is upset and wants to explain their position, let them. Please provide them with your full attention and listen to them. As they finish, I have a statement I feel is the best way to begin your response. I have shared this with my staff and other leaders; the best way to start is: “I am sorry you feel that way.”
I am sorry you feel that way is a great way to begin. This does not admit blame or acceptance but validates the individual in front of you. You have demonstrated your willingness to listen; you validate them by making the statement, and you have calmed the environment with these steps. The tones are softened; you have touched the individual’s heart by providing full attention and time. Now the solutions can begin.
During the listening, you have taken notes of the content revealed. You can begin to help connect the dots as together you retell the story without high emotions, but with facts to help design a solution to the issue. Always reassuring, understanding and providing a solution helpful to all parties. Pay attention to unspoken language. Your senses help you recognize the needs others are not able to communicate. There is always, as I say, a “trigger” for all of us that flips on our anger.
Our senses provide us with the guidance we need. However, not everyone has all of the senses available to them. When this happens your senses naturally accelerate to compensate for the missing sense. Nature knows the significance of having these to support us in our journey. Our brain is our central control center, activating them.
I have shared before that I survived a near-death accident leaving me with lifelong injuries. I have a traumatic brain injury which leaves me without my sense of smell or taste and also a lack of emotion. There are more damages, but these are hard to accept. However, I have learned to accomodate. The brain is amazing so I do have periods where I may be able to smell an odor if it is strong, taste a very seasoned dish or feel a burst of joy. Never consistently.
My message is to be a leader with a heart. I am thankful each day for all the blessings before, during, and after my car crash. Use all of your resources available to you as you lead and serve. Thank you for being part of the solution daily.
Steps with Senses to Solutions
- See- Identify the body language of the individual, have personal pictures, collections, or special items identifying yourself
- Hear- Listen to the individual with full attention.
- Smell- Utilizing our ability to help reduce stress, provide an environment of comfort, or to keep the area your meeting odor-free for safety. (Fresh flowers as an example)
- Taste- Candy bowls, other treats, water. Consider having something to offer.
- Touch- Stress balls, gadgets to hold and move, any items to help with various textures. (clay, sponge, etc.)
In addition to the items above, my office stocked pens, journals, snacks, and anything I found to add! Your office or meeting area should bring out the senses in everyone!
I hope I helped in making sense to solutions using senses.