Tag Archive for Misunderstandings
Workplace misunderstandings are costly, stressful and potentially damaging to your career–especially if you created the communication snafu. Knowing how to handle communication blunders while keeping your composure can save a job, a reputation or a business relationship.
Sometimes even good intentions go bad. Early in my career I created a bad situation just because I was trying to do the right thing—serve a customer. If you’ve ever worked in commission sales perhaps you can relate.
While we were expected to help all customers, it apparently was not correct to be too helpful. (Yes, you’re reading a bit of disbelief on my part in that sentence. More years of experience tells me otherwise…but that’s another post.)
At the time, my helpfulness caused the customer to want to switch horses in mid-stream and work with me. That, of course, was not going to sit well Read more
Alas, miscommunication by management teams is alive and well.
I was reminded of this when meeting with a friend this week. He shared with me his frustration at a significant change his company made without consulting those it affected.
How does this happen?!
This particular change will spread beyond a mere inconvenience for associates, it promises to challenge family members of these associates in perhaps devastating ways.
Management decided that this particular team was now going to alternate night and day shifts forcing associates to work two weeks on the day shift followed by two weeks on the night shift.
Forget the fact that the detrimental effects of this kind of schedule have been well documented including loss of productivity and higher incidences of mistakes and accidents.
What shocks me most Read more
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 communication means you have the right to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. Aggressive behavior is when you believe you have rights but no one else does. Passive behavior is the opposite. You believe you have no rights but others do.
Assertive behavior is finding the balance between the extremes. Obtaining that balance isn’t always easy especially with aggressive or abusive co-workers. Here are a few tips to help when a colleague slips into aggressive communication.
1. Recognize that your co-worker may be suffering from stress that isn’t visible to you. Problems in personal relationships, money woes, challenges with children, health issues or even the morning’s miserable traffic are examples of stressful events that can trigger abusive behavior.
2. Do nothing. Let your colleague vent as long as you are not in physical danger. If you sense an altercation is about to escalate remove yourself from situation–immediately. If you feel the need to say something try, “Bill, this is getting out of hand. I’m leaving now. I’ll check back in a short time and we can continue once we cool down. Avoid saying, “calm down.” Only a 911 operator should use that phrase.
3. Remember that the first wave of anger is probably not the last. Use the pause to clarify what you heard and understood. Calmly state, “If I understood you correctly…” Your co-worker’s rage is usually associated Read more
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:
When I was a kid I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I loved to color and sketch and make things from the big “Make It!” book my mom always had on hand. That book satisfied my curiosity about how things were made and it sparked my creativity…not to mention saving my mother’s sanity!
My curiosity about how things were made probably accounts for my passion for the act of sewing…the how-to part. (Some people sew but only because they like the end result not the process–but I loved both.)
I loved figuring out how I could use the least amount of fabric when laying out a pattern often getting a better yield than the suggested layout.
For me the “fun” part would be figuring out how to cut an “uneven” plaid so every seam of a pleated skirt would match perfectly. That’s just how my brain works.
This obsession with “figuring things out” showed up in my life in the oddest moments. Read more
I taped my segment for Lifetime Television’s–The Balancing Act, yesterday. Great fun!
My host, Beth Troutman, is smart and vivacious–an excellent communicator who clearly loves what she does for a living. (And, yes–she’s quite beautiful in person.) She made my interview seem like an intimate conversation between girlfriends and I’m hoping that’s what it looks like in the final production.
We talked about my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work, and why misunderstandings and the lack of honest communication (especially inner or self conversation) may be the source of so many unhappy, frustrated workers. A recent Parade poll showed that 61% of the people who responded would not make the same career choice if they had the opportunity to do it all over again. Sad statistic.
It’s why I know there is a need for Reinvention Interventions–we need to be living and doing our purpose in the world–just like Beth.
It’s not too late to join me for Reinvention Intervention: 5 Really Smart and Simple Steps to Relaunch Your Life. This 5 week teleseminar course starts Tuesday, March 15 and you can still attend at an amazingly low price. The bonuses alone make this worth attending. Read more here: Reinvention Intervention Teleseminar.
My experience with everyone I met at The Balancing Act, from the make-up artist, to the camera crew to the producer (and everyone in between) was friendly and professional, making the entire experience a memorable one. Thank you all.
The segment will air sometime in April so stay tuned for updates.