Tag Archive for behavior
I never tire of listening to Simon Sinek’s 18 minute Ted Talk. Why? It keeps me in touch with my own “why.” Why do I do what I do? Because I believe every painful, comical, costly misunderstanding is rooted in communication…I believe in improving our “understanding”–one person at a time–to make the world a better place.
Here’s Simon Sinek’s take on selling with your “why.”
Assertive behavior in the workplace is the dynamic balance between aggressive and passive conduct. Maintaining this balance is crucial for managing relationships and standing up for your rights. Understanding and using assertive behavior is a critical business communication skill.
To get a sense of the dynamic range between passive and aggressive behavior think of child’s seesaw with assertiveness sitting on the fulcrum point. Consider assertive communication as the delicate movement needed to maintain balance before the plank hits the passive or aggressive ground might.
Behavior too far toward the aggressive end and your behavior might be viewed as abusive. Yet, displaying behavior too far to the passive side and your conduct might suggest you are hiding something.
Standing up for your rights assertively is mature behavior and it creates a balanced work environment.
Assertive communication says you have healthy sense of yourself, you regard others as equals, and it indicates a desire for personal growth.
Assertive behavior does not violate the right of others from being heard, nor does it violate your own right from self-expression. Aggressive behavior is bully behavior and every workplace seems to have at least one destructive player that feels the need to win over everything else.
When encountering an aggressive personality it is best to remember that this person is operating from fear. This is a good time to don your Teflon coat to keep any personal attack from sticking. If you are constantly being interrupted while you are making a point, it is acceptable to take back the stage to finish your statement. Saying something such as “let me finish my point, John,” in a calm, steady, well-modulated voice is an acceptable technique. Repeat as needed. This pegs you as having the voice of reason and leadership.
If you are the aggressor it would be wise to examine the results of your behavior as well as your motives. Do others avoid you? Are co-workers reluctant to support your point-of view? You might be gaining the upper hand in some situations but at what cost. What are you afraid of losing if you allow others their right to an opposing opinion?
Passive behavior as a communication style can be just as damaging—to you as well as to others. It indicates low self-esteem (as does aggressive behavior) it expects others to guess your thoughts and motives and it slows down productivity. At first glance, a passive employee may seem ideal—does their work and doesn’t say much. What is missing from that equation is the possibility of better ideas and solutions to problems. Passive communication creates guess work on the part of others, and it invites aggressive responses.
If you are prone to passive behavior consider asserting yourself in low-risk situations. Give your opinion on a light hearted but controversial topic during a lunchtime break. Adding your opinion about whose going to win American Idol, Dancing with the Stars or the World Series rarely causes more than playful banter while adding color to the conversation. From there practice taking more risks by asserting yourself at meetings, even if it is to agree with others. Your voice is important. You have the same rights as others and letting others violate them is unfair to all parties.
Should you encounter a passive communicator help them out by encouraging their thoughts and refusing to take “I don’t care what we do” or “it doesn’t matter to me” as answers.
Assertive communication allows for fair exchange, collaboration and teamwork. Assertive behavior from everyone creates a productive and pleasant workplace.
What do you think?
Want more tips you can put to use immediately? Then pick up a copy of my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Oh, and don’t forget your FREE 6 part audio on The Power of Effective Communication–just put your name and email in the boxes on your upper right to get instant access.
Words are important but intonation and context create the meaning in your communication. Misunderstandings come largely from a misinterpretation of the context or the framework around the words. The meaning of the message becomes distorted. Even a single word can cause a response so far from the original intention that a conversation breaks down instantly.
Take the word, “oh.” It can mean a multitude of things depending on how you say it:
- “Oh?” a question.
- “Oooh!” understanding.
- “Uh oh.” A mistake.
- “Oooh?” as in, “You are in trouble now!”
- “Ohhhhh!” as in, “I really like that!”
If “oh?”(a question) is the response to wonderful news when “ohhhhh!” (I like that) might have been the expected response the conversation could take a distinctly different turn. The bearer of good news who was feeling elated might suddenly be questioning their own feelings.
Just thinking about the turns this short exchange could take is the stuff of sit-coms. She said this and he heard that. Yikes.
In sit-coms the endings are always happy but in real life the consequences might not wrap up with contented, evolved human beings.
How you say it—food for thought.
I’ve seen tipsy job candidates as well as drunk-as-a-lord employees. Tears in the workplace—far too many to count. Witnessing even one employee’s full-out, red-faced, nose-running tantrum that scared the living daylights out of customers is more than enough. Lying—seems to go with the territory. Back-stabbing behavior followed by incredulous “who-me” denials from that one off-kilter worker–not uncommon.
It’s important to remember that fear is the grand motivator and a universal human behavior. This belief has saved my sanity.
2. Customers – see above.
The old saying “buyers are liars” comes to mind. I’ve listened to customers denying ever signing a contract even when presented with the document not only signed but initialed in three places. Refusing to accept delivery. Bounced checks. Stealing. All routine.
I’ve seen enough to jade me for life unless I put it all into perspective. Grateful, appreciative, understanding, referral-giving customers outweighed the wacky ones by far. I discovered that taping a glowing note or two from a good client where I could frequently see was helpful.
3. You’re responsible for the whole shebang.
Just own it. I’ve dealt with drug addicts parked at the back door and snakes slithering across the front entrance. The remnants of sodden ceiling panels spattered on furniture, imported rugs and public walkways—when they could no longer hold their weight—simply meant having the local 24-hour cleaning service on speed-dial. Until the AC unit got fixed (correctly) this was a weekly event.
Electrical problems, smoke-filled showrooms and 100-degree offices became as trivial as jammed copiers and dead phone service.
I’ve dragged myself out of bed at 3:00 a.m. to answer alarm calls a dozen times only to discover—well, nothing much. Chandeliers crashing to the floor from their tether in the stockroom will surely set off a motion detector but are really nothing to become alarmed about, especially after the second or third time.
I learned that you’ll be on a first-name basis with the police, fire and E.M.T. departments so it’s best to cultivate a friendly smile.
4. Appreciation and creative latitude produces the best work.
I’ve witness pure genius and remarkable solutions produced when the freedom to innovate is present.
5. You leave a little mark on everyone.
Remember who you are and where you are. You’ll never know what indelible impression you’ll leave on someone. A careless remark uttered under stress may be regrettable. A few words of encouragement and understanding marks you as human. A note of gratitude from a co-worker—priceless.