Are You Creating Barriers to Effective Communication?

September 30, 2013 by  

Sometimes, without realizing it, one might be creating barriers to effective communication by making assumptions, being sarcastic or joking when someone is serious about an issue. In order to be a good communicator, especially if you are in a supervisory or leadership position, you must become aware of the barrers that can prevent clarity and happy outcomes.

Here are 6 common barriers that should be avoided:

1.Differing expectations: if we are not on the same page we cannot achieve a common goal.
2.Assumptions: we all know what assume means
3.Sarcasm: no one wants to deal with sarcasm when they are trying to discuss a problem.
4.Kidding: no one wants to hear jokes when they are trying to discuss a serious issue.
5.That ain’t my job syndrome: this is not effective team behaviour or attitude.  It certainly does not emulate teamwork.
6.Insufficient feedback: when we do not know how we are doing we are likely to assume everything is okay, constructive criticism and encouraging praise are the most prized rewards an employee can receive. Money is rarely the reason people leave a job, nor is it what will keep them.  Rather feeling appreciated, respected and empowered will engender purpose and loyalty toward an organization.

Job satisfaction is the key!
The way a person acts speaks so loudly that you will not hear what they are saying!

4 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Employees

September 19, 2013 by  

How often have you needed to have a difficult conversation with a co-worker or employee, and found any excuse to avoid the confrontation? Even highly assertive people struggle with difficult conversations, especially when it is with a difficult person.

As we all know, sometimes conversations with difficult people are unavoidable, and absolutely necessary for leaders. Many times, these conversations end up being arguments or difficult discussions because these people press our buttons.

So, when such a conversation is necessary, what is an effective approach that will bring us win/win outcome?

1. Say it
Do not avoid the conversation.  Despite the fact that the natural human tendency is to avoid the confrontation, avoidance does not make a problem go away, and over time, it can make the problem or issue worse and certainly harder to resolve.

2. Say it in a way they can hear you
Take the time to formulate your message in an honest and respectful manner using appropriate language for this particular person. (lighten it up, or be more direct depending on the personality type with whom you are dealing).

3. Listen
Without active, focussed listening, one cannot truly understand why we have this problem.  Hear them out and repeat back what you heard for clarification.  Ask questions to learn more about their take on the situation.  Most differences can be resolved by actively listening and discovering where your areas of agreement lie. Then you can agree to disagree or find a reasonable compromise.  However you will now better understand the other person’s perspective of the situation….maybe you will even learn something new.

4. Let it go
Following the difficult conversation, even if you did not get exactly what you wanted as an outcome, let it go. Their reaction is not your responsibility. You cannot control the result of this verbal exchange; you can only attempt to achieve a certain end.  Honestly, you will feel better just for trying.

The four steps outlined above are not easy. However they are necessary and are actually the only way to find a solution. Some of the biggest growth opportunities in the workplace come through confronting and dealing with people with whom we may not get along. The more we know about our co-workers, we more we listen actively to their problems and points of view; difficult or not, the better we will be able to work with them in the future.