Talk Less. Listen More.

It’s a scenario that plays out over and over – far and wide. This time it’s someone’s teenage working kid coming home from their part time job working construction with a bit of sunburn on their forehead.

“I guess your hard hat doesn’t protect you from the sun,” says dad.

“I don’t wear a hard hat,” replies the son.

“Are you kidding?? Weren’t you saying that a brick fell from above last month and hit someone?” Dad shouts, totally shocked. “Why would you not wear a hard hat?”

“Whatever!” says the son angrily exiting the room.

Of course one can understand a parent’s frustration upon hearing that their child is putting themselves in harm’s way at their job. But is this necessarily the best way to handle it? Here’s another way this could have played out taken from the point of ‘impact’:

“I don’t wear a hard hat,” replies the son.

“I guess it gets pretty hot out there on days like today,” replies dad empathetically.

“It sure does dad,” says the son with a sense of openness in his voice.

“But weren’t you telling me that someone was hit by a falling brick last month?” reminds the dad.

“Yeah. That was really scary – never seen so much blood,” recall the son.

“Any reason you don’t wear a hard hat?’ asks Dad.

“Well my boss is a skateboard freak and he thinks anyone who wears a hard hat is a wimp,” admits the son.

At this point not only has the parent extracted key information, but they’ve established a rapport in which their kid does not feel judged and is engaged in the conversation. From this point forward solutions can be discussed that will hopefully empower the young worker to protect themselves.

The key differentiator in the two scenarios? In the first one, the parent was more interested in speaking and sharing info that their son already knew. In the second, the parent was more interested in listening and understanding the situation on a deeper level.

Listening is one of the most powerful tools in communicating with young people and by doing so in an effective manner you will be able to guide your young worker child to practice the safest possible workplace behavior.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.