Thank You For Hearing Me

I recently fell in love again with Sinead’s haunting song, the title for this week’s missive, Thank You For Hearing Me. Thank you for hearing her!

On its face, it’s your “basic love song.”  Yet, there’s so much more here. I offer reflections over the coming weeks to use her language and music to transport you into – of all places – the realms of leadership.  This week’s might shock her – and you.

Lesson One:  Trumpers. Many on the left are utterly perplexed by Trump’s following.  Yet I don’t think it’s complex.  Those hard core followers are, I believe, singing to and of him – as Sinead singers to an apparent lover – “Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for seeing me.” Yes, many are not well educated, are white, are worried about their jobs, are worried about their language and the country’s unity being lost, are worried about the demise of Christmas, tradition, etc. 

Those on the left would say, “does he really hear…love…see you?” But his followers would respond, “you are the ones who do not see and hear me.”  And they came out to vote in record numbers. Are we hearing?  Of course, in our profoundly divided country, many (more) on the left were terrified that they were not seen – women, youth, LGBTQ communities,  people of color, the children at the border, Muslims, etc. Both “sides” are pointing us to see the very same phenomena. They should awaken us – not only as citizens, political leaders, but also as parents, teachers, managers:  “Hear me. Love me. See me.”  To which I would add, “shall we?” 

In the homestretch of this year of tumult and division, you might just see how you are doing and how you can do more. Do “your” people – all of your people – feel heard, seen, and yes even loved?  In the waning weeks, if not days, how will you say and show that you are listening, seeing and loving.  To do so is to 

Lead with your best self.


  • Thank you, Dan. Your analysis is one of the first I’ve seen that succinctly states the problem. I’ve pondered over and over what is motivating the trumpers…can’t they “see” what the left sees? But your analysis simply points out that they want what most of us want…to be seen, heard, and loved. They believe trump and cling to him, much like abused children cling to their abuser mom or dad. Thanks again. Now I see things more clearly.

  • Dan, hopefully all that read your most recent “leading” article will have their eyes, ears, and hearts opened. Unfortunately, I am afraid that many will view your analogies as off-setting and not fully appreciate what your message is. Over 70 Million Americans voted for President Trump (most I submit for his policies and not his personality)…was it because they are “not well educated, white or fearing lost traditions”? Or, was it because they view the USA as #1, want a faith-based country, deeply honor our military and police agencies, and are disappointed that their beliefs are impugned by those with opposite views? Our society and politics are now an “us vs. them” because we refuse to listen, see, or feel those that do not align with our personal beliefs. Perhaps another appropriate song at this time of year to make the point is the Who’s Christmas from their Tommy album(1969)…Tommy can you see me, feel me, touch me, heal me? Let’s hope for the sake of our country we all take heed of your message and the meanings of both songs.

    • Steve, I had the same Tommy refrain going through my head.
      I appreciate your and Ken’s comments that even in my attempt to “see” the Trumpers, I may have been looking through my foggy glasses – and some of them do not see themselves as I see them. I could have chosen my words better. I appreciate Ken’s point that they ARE educated, but not perhaps by higher ed.
      Thanks for taking the time to opine!

  • Dan, this is a lovely message. Really thoughtful, I’d say profound. Oprah always says she believes that at the core, what gives everyone meaning is knowing they’ve been seen, that they’ve been acknowledged. I back Steve’s view above (or below). The one thing I would like you to think about is the power of language and experience… So when you say they’re “not well educated…” that shows a bias that takes away from your very powerful message. They may not be “formally” educated, but they’re certainly well educated in things you or I might not be. “Education” is not the exclusive domain of schools. Merry Christmas Dan!

  • Dan, this is way too close to our reality for me not to react! In our new great divide, I am beginning to feel that we are in a human transformation period due to covid and societal metamorphosis where the individualism will finally trump (no pun intended) our traditional group norms. There are fewer group “thinks” today which I see as a good thing but the pain of moving away from our norms is a painful process. We all are really crying out to be heard, some are BLM and others are the Bad Boys. At the end of the day, they are all just ordinary people wanting to be heard! Great reflection as always. Thank you Dan for pushing us to Lead in anyway we can.

  • Brilliant! You just helped me answer that question of how could the other be so other! Truth is they’re not. Thanks for remining me. Your old New Orleans friend…

  • Dan, thanks for this powerful post, which underscores the point you so frequently and eloquently make: that if we are going to lead with our best selves, we need to start from a place of genuinely and earnestly listening, hearing, seeing, and seeking to understand those with whom we work, live, and play, and, as importantly, those with whom we don’t. I believe that the only way we will overcome the divisive polarization gripping our nation is if each of us makes a commitment to do these things and strives each day to follow through on that commitment.

  • Thank you very much for sharing, Dan. This brought me back to a conversation that I had with a friend last week where I mentioned that I have found myself increasingly being a soundboard (which is totally ok).

    Our world has been flipped on its head and I’m noticing that everyone [in my limited world] needs an outlet for various reasons; listening provides that outlet. It’s amazing how something so small to us–listening–can be so impactful to the other person.

    Few conversations were political in my case, but the parallel I see here is the impact of being receptive to conversation. In the political context, I can see it yielding healthy conversations and helping close perception gaps. We can engage others by simply listening and paraphrasing; “If I’m understanding you correctly, you feel xyz…” We can lead healthy conversations by surfacing any areas of agreement; “I also agree that I want this pandemic to end so that we can return to normal.” Framing ideas in a positive light can also help messages be better received; “Let’s explore the benefits of xyz…” vs ” We need to xyz because…”

    I think Stephen Covey said it best when he packed a world of words into one of his seven habits; “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    Thank you for being a great leader and I hope you and your family are safe and well.

  • Dan
    Your piece on “Hearing Me” struck home. Getting heard and seen still remains a difficult task for many.

  • >