Are You Hearing Parents? How to Use This FBI Secret in School Communication

Chris Voss, is a former Hostage Negotiator and a 24-year veteran of the FBI, where he was the lead international kidnapping negotiator and trained by not only the FBI but Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. Now, Voss advises Fortune 500 Organisations and shares his wisdom on one of the most important communication habits leaders should develop.

“Until parents feel they have been heard - they will resist, create pushback and cause friction. Listening, saves leaders so much time.”

Voss is a strong advocate for one particular communication skill, and he puts this rather simply: to hear people out. There’s always times where as a school-leader you are forced into making difficult decisions - decisions which may not always please everyone.

Perhaps you are faced with having to change the school schedule, or cutting back on extra curricular activities or asking your teachers to take on more responsibilities. Yet in the back of your mind, you’re worried about how this is going to land. Are parents going to push back? Is your team going to resist changes?

All of these frictions add an unneeded and time consuming burden, but Voss has one simple piece of advice: hear people out. Once a school-leader listens to their team, their students and their parents - these frictions will start to dissipate. Ultimately, Voss says, “people just want to be heard,” but “they will comply, collaborate, they will cooperate, so much faster, quicker and smoothly if they’ve been heard”.

Until they’ve been heard, they will always resist and create pushback and friction in the implementation of these changes.

So, the advice of a former FBI hostage negotiator? Hearing people out, is the golden rule to tackling friction and pushback. Once people have been heard, so much of this goes away, and that time you previously spent on fixing the fall-out, can be saved.