There is one aspect of communication that is vitally important in all relationships; marriage, parenting, managing, leading, selling, customer service…you name it. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, but experience has taught me (the hard way in many cases) that the quality of every relationship is contingent upon one aspect of communication; without which one will certainly move the relationship in a negative direction. Most of you are thinking about listening. Listening is absolutely important and obviously first in communication. However, listening is only the beginning and something much more effective is required in moving the relationship in a positive direction. The key component that moves a relationship forward is validation.
Validation Creates Safety in Relationships
Validation simply means to substantiate or make something valid. Validation does not mean agreement and is especially important where disagreement is present. Validation is nothing more than communicating to others that their feelings, point of view, or idea is valid. Most people simply want to know that they have been heard, and that what they had to say was not rejected or dismissed as unimportant or insignificant. Validation creates a sense of safety where people can share what’s on their minds and hearts without fear of how the other will react. Once safety is created by validation, certain qualities are instilled that ultimately lead to a healthy relationship regardless of the context. Here are a few big ones.
1. Validation instills respect
When people’s thoughts, ideas, and feelings are validated, they feel respected. Validation communicates to that staff member or spouse that you uphold his or her right to have an opinion. To dismiss or minimize how someone feels or thinks is communicating that they still need to earn your respect. If this goes unresolved long enough, the relationship will deteriorate to a superficial level where good communication never takes place. However, when someone feels respected by you, they will not only say what is on their hearts, but often times what you need to hear.
2. Validation instills value
In order for a relationship to have value, the members of the relationship must feel valued by the other. Validating someone by saying something like, “I can see that you are very concerned about this issue and I would like to hear your thoughts” communicates that you value the person and that you care. Dismissing ideas or feelings communicates that you do not place value on how that person thinks or feels. Eventually, he or she will protect themselves from rejection by becoming quite and withdrawn moving the relationship in a negative direction.
3. Validation instills progression
One of the biggest benefits of validation is that it promotes a healthy progression in the relationship. When people feel safe, respected and valued by others, they are more open, honest and forthcoming with ideas and concerns. A sense of teamwork and connection takes place where synergy happens and the relationship moves forward in a positive direction.
There is great power in validating other people’s thoughts, feelings and ideas. You can REACH FORWARD to becoming better at life and leadership by learning to validate others in meaningful conversations. Your relationships will be healthier, happier, and more fulfilling.
Feel free to join the conversation by sharing your comments.