One comment I often hear when it comes to misunderstandings in the workplace is, “If you can just fix my (boss, coworker or customer) then I wouldn’t have any problem communicating.”
Maybe you’re even agreeing with that statement. If you are you have some work to do…inner work.
There are 4 key beliefs you might hold that lead to conflict:
1. I must explain my side first. If you believe this you fail at a fundamental principle of communication. Dr. Stephen Covey put it best, “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”
2. I am a good listener. Hate to break it to you but the odds are not in your favor. Most of us fail miserably as listeners while believing the opposite. Listening is not waiting to speak. It’s actually engaging to understand what is being communicated. This, unfortunately, takes some effort.
3. I’m not afraid. Really? Think again. Fear is the underlying issue of all conflict. Fear you won’t get heard, fear of losing face, fear that you might not get your way or fear that the truth about you will be revealed. It’s difficult to get to the truth when you’re operating from a place of fear.
4. I lose if they win. Communication is not a competitive, contact sport. Switch to cooperation mode if you want to manage workplace misunderstandings.
Good communication requires healthy self-esteem, self-awareness and an attitude of cooperation not competition. Approach conflicting communication styles with this intention and you’ll decrease conflict and misunderstandings.
To learn more about managing conflict in your workplace, pick up a copy of this 60 minute teleseminar: