Noticing Needs Creates Connection

How often do you pay attention to your own needs? 

What does it mean to notice the needs of those around you? 

In last month’s blog, you read about facing feelings. Whether or not you are a fan of talking about feelings, feelings provide important information. 

They signal whether needs are met. 

When you feel relaxed, joyful, and content, your needs seem met. When you experience anger, frustration, or dissatisfaction, it appears your needs are not met. 

When it comes to my conflict resolution work, I envision needs as the umbrella, and connection, freedom, harmony, joy, meaning, and well-being as the six ribs. Each conflict really comes down to an unmet need in one of these six areas.

More often than not conflict relates to connection. Connection may range from love, affection and appreciation to respect, support and understanding.

Whether involving a business, community, family, or organization, many mediations come down to respect. 

Tenants and community members filing bias and discrimination charges against corporations and law enforcement officers often cite lack of respect. CEO’s and peace officers say they do not receive respect in same exact situations. Of course, spouses, parents and children, teammates, and colleagues experience similar frustrations around respect. 

Often, neither participant or party sees the other as “respectful.” 

Yes, two people in the same situation both label the “other” person as being disrespectful.

What happens next? 

You guessed it… the person feeling disrespected may show up with greater disrespect and the whole situation escalates. And when both people feel disrespected at the same time, it may prove a real challenge for connection until at least one person acknowledges the underlying need. 

When folks in conflict cannot acknowledge each other, they may rely on a neutral outside party to help. As a mediator, my work often involves acknowledging the needs of each person experiencing the conflict. 

Typically, you do not have a mediator on the spot to facilitate the conversation. 

This means you may be the one to de-escalate the situation and increase the level of understanding. 

Most every leader assumes the role of mediator at some point. 

Noticing needs allows you to do just that. 

Before approaching a conversation, it helps to understand your own needs. If a crucial need of your own goes unmet while attempting to help someone else, you may not best serve the situation. 

To show up with compassion and connect more constructively takes self-awareness. You may better understand your own needs with this Noticing Needs Guide

This helps you notice the need, address it or commit to addressing it, and show up more in alignment with who you are and who you wish to be. 

When you take time to notice needs – yours, the folks around you, or both – you show up more calm and confident. 

Doing so often benefits the folks around you.

Your level of content and satisfaction in your life impacts how you show up in the world. 

Noticing needs gets to the real issue and opens space to generate ideas to resolve issues. It is one of the eleven steps to conflict resolution and peacebuilding you learn in Creating Connective Communications.

You get to take care of your needs. 

And you may handle conflict more constructively when you notice the needs of the people around you.

What are your needs? 

What steps are you taking to address your needs and the needs of those around you?  

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Most widely known as Lonzo's human, mediator, speaker, and author Sherry Ann Bruckner works with leaders and organizations to create peace, resolve conflict, and transform visions into results.

From her twenty-plus years' experience practicing civil and family law, and her own personal experiences with silence and violence, Sherry Ann understands how much inner peace impacts outer peace. A graduate of Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts and William Mitchell College of Law, she also studied conflict resolution at Rothberg International School in Jerusalem. Sherry serves as a neutral on matters ranging from bias and employment discrimination to marriage dissolution and caring for aging parents. A speaker and trainer on the global stage, Sherry gives you and your audience practical skills and the confidence to use embrace your personal power to create peace. Through helping thousands of people navigate their way through conflict, and finding her own way to inner peace, she shares the transformational power of clarity, compassion, curiosity, and cribbage.

Visit to learn more or give her a call at (320) 808-3212.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

Be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.