Courage in our communication

Recently I read a few tweets on a public feed which were directed at me by a contact from the past. The comments weren’t exactly positive and quite upsetting. The words didn’t bother me as much as the fact that someone would communicate about me in such a negative, indirect and cowardly manner.

I’m well aware that celebrities have to put up with regular vitriol from fans and haters alike. The issue about whether this is fair and acceptable has been written about extensively by others and that is not my purpose here.

This blog, however, is focussing more about communication in general. In a past posting I shared my thoughts about whether we are being clear with the messages that we send out. This time I would like to focus on whether we are being brave about what we would actually like to get across.

At work we often would like to say one thing but end up saying something else entirely; for example, as a Manager, when you need to provide feedback to improve performance. Positive feedback is an enjoyable experience but trying to tell a team member that they need to do something better, faster, or in a different way can be a Manager’s worst nightmare. The real issue is often skirted around and a generalised conversation ends up taking place.

This can occur for many reasons; avoidance of conflict, danger of coming across aggressively, or fear of the other person’s reaction. A general conversation, however, is worse for both the manager and the employee – nothing constructive has been gained, both have walked away from the encounter with mixed messages, and the performance will inevitably stay the same.

Courage in our conviction will ultimately give us the courage in our communication. With feedback, for example, the conviction is that this will improve the performance of the individual thus promote personal development, contribute positively to the team, the overall business, and the customer or client. A win-win situation all round. Keeping this at the forefront when approaching the conversation will help in achieving the outcome. This will also allow for a credible two-way conversation to take place – because without communication being a two-way process it is not effective.

Being mindful about the environment, one’s body language, and the way that the message is delivered so as to come across genuine is also important. That is, however, for another blog!

Had there been courage in the conviction of the unnecessary tweets then it is possible that the message would have been delivered in a different manner…a manner in which I would have been able to respond appropriately. Responding on twitter would make me just as cowardly…

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