2018-05-15 | 作者:Jessica Mc Glyn

Stakeholder Engagement: Getting to the Heart of the Matter with the Empathetic Listening.

CSR

Mary, head of CSR, was developing a new sourcing policy, which she hoped would make her company a sustainability leader in her sector. She asked Henry to facilitate a meeting with a group of external stakeholders to discuss the draft policy and she invited Joe and some other colleagues in to answer any questions. Henry liked Mary a lot: she was visionary, bold and sincere. Henry was rooting for her all the way.

Henry liked Joe, too — he was a real team player. During the meeting, he was completely engaged, affable and answered all the questions the right way. This was about leadership, doing the right thing, meeting the customers’ expectations. The group was duly impressed, singing the praises of the policy. Success. They took a break.

Joe grabbed a coffee and went off by himself to a couch in the corner of the lobby corridor. Henry joined him. We got to chatting about the policy. He repeated a lot of the things he said in the meeting:  they were on the right track, doing the right thing; the company was showing great leadership. As he talked, he slunk down more and more into the couch, his eyelids grew heavy, his shoulders slumped.
"You look tired, Joe," Henry said. "Is everything OK?"

"I’m fine, thanks, just have a lot on my plate," he responded, sitting up a little straighter.

They got to chatting about his thousands of work responsibilities, how he had just lost some staff, how he was not spending enough time at home with his young children as a result. As we talked, his whole body seemed to loosen up, his once impassive face had become quite animated.

In less than 30 minutes he explained the procurement journey, we brainstormed together why certain things were done certain ways, and he came up with some excellent ideas on how to make it easier and more efficient.

Some of the lucky few are naturally good at empathetic listening, but most of us, including Henry, must learn this skill and consciously practice it over and over to get good. Our tendency, when we listen, is to focus internally on our own thoughts and judgments. Sometimes we are defensive. Other times we hear the literal words but do not grasp, or understand the value of, the emotion underlying the words.  

Mary’s approach, commonly used by the most well-intentioned, smartest of people, did not allow her stakeholders to express their underlying needs. As a result, she would have had a lot of problems executing it. Joe’s valuable insights helped us reconfigure the policy and implementation process to get the best outcomes. Empathetic listening gets us to the heart of the matter.

Source:Green Biz


Picture credit to:José Martín Ramírez C

GRI Tool
GRI Certified Software & Tools Program