While we may not always know it, we are all hard-wired to want to be seen and heard. It starts immediately upon our entry into this world and if you ever doubt it, just watch a young child in a restaurant engaging most of the diners within 10 feet and getting them to smile and make faces for them. Being seen and heard is so important to our physical and neurological growth that babies that are not smiled at and delighted in can fail to thrive.
Most of us are well aware of the times when we have “felt” seen by a close friend or a family member; but many of us have the experience of having never felt fully seen and heard at work. As a leader, peer, even subordinate, seeing and hearing another individual fully is probably one of the greatest rewards you can give – in many instances, more valued then money.
What does it mean to be seen and heard?
It means that your input is listened to with respect and appreciation.
It means that you trust that you can bring difficult issues to the table and know that while you may not be able to influence every decision, your take on the situation is appreciated.
Being seen and heard conveys that you count and that you are a valued member of the organization.
If you are one of the many people in an organization where you don’t feel seen, take some time today (today!) to identify the people in the organization who do see you, who you know value your contributions and who want you to stay. Most people can find a few – maybe not the few they wish would see them, but a few. Make sure you connect with those people several times a week.
If you look closely and can find no one at work, then it’s important that you identify a friend, family member, pastor, or therapist that you believe has taken the time to see you and connect with him or her regularly.
Being seen is not just important to babies; it is important to all of us and contributes to our health and well-being.