“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.”
Whilst out with a some friends a few weeks ago, one friend started to discuss her son and his last employment. She had assumed that he had been “pushed out” from his last post due to a comment he had made to his manager.
His previous role was in administration, a post he wasn’t particularly fond of doing. However, in true spirit he had kept his head down and got on with the job. After being employed for some time a member of the management team approached him and genuinely mentioned that he had been doing a great job and how did he feel about it. His reply was that he wasn’t happy and was bored with the role he was doing
As he was telling his mum about this, she instantly envisaged him not being employed for much longer and told him that his comment would probably cost him his job. After a while he was approached again by management, and as before he was told he was doing a good job and how did he feel about it. His reply was the same as when previously asked.
With his response in mind, they offered him two other positions within the organisation. One position he thought was more menial than the one he was in already, the other he contemplated may be worth doing. But he decided that that too was not the right choice for him so he declined both posts on offer. Unfortunately, his mothers words came true and he was given the proverbial “boot” from the company.
Now we could all say he should have heeded his mothers warning, we could see it as poetic justice for his comment and possibly see it he was being a bit too big for his boots. What if we – and the management, or his mum for that matter looked at it from another perspective. Why didn’t the manager, after seeing the potential in the lad, actually considered he was being honest? They had commented on how well he had been doing yet offered a lesser role. He was asked a question with which he gave an honest reply. Why didn’t the manager consider the lad had a talent for his work and that talent could benefit the company? Why not see that this was a person who wanted to progress and possibly had a goal in mind? Surely this should have shown a person with a conscientious approach and a willingness to progress within the company. Why didn’t they just ask and find out what he wanted to do?
Now of course with not being in the same room as when all this transpired, one can only speculate on the thoughts, emotions and communication between all parties involved. My friends’ son could have been more aware of how he should have answered the question, equally the manager could have taken a different perspective of the lads reply and his decline of the two posts offered. How often have you, we, taken something someone has said and put it in the wrong context, or read an email or text and thought it meant something completely different? Our communication is in the response we get, and this is a good example of that.
In a recent job, I was coaching a manager around how he was going to deal with one of his supervisors with regards to his negative approach to others and some mistakes he had been making. I suggested the manager found out if something had happened over a set period as I had seen a change in the supervisor and was conscious something was wrong. Unfortunately the manager didn’t heed my advice and went at the supervisor in a gung-ho fashion and it resulted in a confrontation between the pair and the manger reprimanding the supervisor for his actions. The supervisor came to me the next day and informed me of what had transpired. I asked him what had been the difference between a two – three week period from when we last spoke. It came out his wife was quite ill and all he could think about was how she could get better and how he could care for her. Clearly I was right in noticing something had made a difference in this supervisor, and along with the stress of the job had made a massive impact on his performance at work. Through asking the right questions and giving the supervisor the chance, and the choice to answer, as well as listening, progress was made. There was such a relief in the supervisor from being able to express his issues and encouragement from my recognition of the great work he had actually been doing.
I am always saying that all the technology we have, smart phones, iPads, computers, etc., are all fantastic devices to enable us to communicate with someone, helps us bring others from afar closer to us, but they can be quite detrimental when it comes to our actual communication. We have lost our way in being able to communicate and talk directly to people due to the ease in which technology takes over as well as the stresses and strains of todays society.
From my experience in working in security it was clear that communication was a big issue. Then I found it was just as bad in every other area of work and life. If it was not management not communicating to supervisors, it was also supervisors not communicating with front line teams. On certain security contracts I have worked on, you were actually instructed not to communicate with the client! On some days if you had asked what was the clients itinerary for the day you were treated with distain or was responded with “its on a need-to-know basis.” Well, don’t you think I should know bearing in mind I’m there to protect them and keep them alive? How is that once you are in a managerial role you consider you know everything?
Now I’m certainly wise enough to know what is important for me know and what isn’t, its about our communication that I am referring to and how we put that across to others as well as how we take someone else’s. We need to take a step back and think about our communication and how we will respond to others before we engage in to it. We may need to question their communication first in order to make the right internal representation for our response.
How well do you communicate with your team? Answer these three questions;
- Do you want to be able to appreciate the potential in someone doing a great job in your organisation?
- Could you do with “listening” to what your staff are actually saying rather than just hearing their voices?
- If everyone was able to communicate better, would it benefit and improve your business?
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you would answer “Yes” to all three questions. My next question is what are you going to do about it now?
Well you could just continue as you are doing and or you could make a huge difference and contact us today and arrange one of our communication skills workshops, or any of our training sessions and see how we can improve your business.
Please use the contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
We can’t wait to listen.