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The Perils of Miscommunication. Clarity #22

Alan Andersen

When hired business to drive profit to the bottom-line, the first step we recommend is to assess what is happening with communication. To get alignment, you first must start with how do we get work done. At TLC, we make certain all team members are assessed and on the same page with their team members.

The magic is to have each member understand their own style and gain insight into their unique talents and personal blindspots. Next is to appreciate and understand their teammates’ strengths, weaknesses, and unique style. To start anywhere else, in my opinion, is a waste of money and energy not, to mention foolish. Why?

Business is Relationships

Business is all about relationships. Think about it. Businesses fail because one or more relationships did not work out (partners, customers, vendors, investors, employees). Relationships end when trust is broken. Trust is eroded if not broken immediately – usually because of a miscommunication.

Think About It

We have all had a relationship go bad, right? What happened? Something at sometime broke your trust with that person. Now think really hard about it, see if there is a miscommunication? It may have been instant or a slow erosion over time.

Here’s an example. When I was in high school, I never had a curfew because my mom trusted me and wanted to know where I was at all times. As long as I communicated I was granted freedom. Now imagine if I said, “Hey Mom, I’m going to Scott’s house” and she assumes I meant my boyfriend Scott, but when she checks up on me, I’m not there and then calls every person in my graduating class looking for me. Come to find out, I went to “Scott’s house”, the college guy I met at a party last weekend.

In my mind, I communicated perfectly per our agreement with no hint of misleading her. However, my mom is fuming and her trust in me now has a crack in it. I think she is overreacting when she asks me a million questions the next time I want to go out and so I stop telling her every detail because I don’t trust she still has that love and respect for me. Soon we are barely speaking and the relationship is compromised.

AND it happens in the workplace the same way. We think we are communicating perfectly only to find we are getting passive/aggressive attitude from someone. What do we do?

Deal with the Small Stuff

The problem in the workplace is we rarely talk about the small things that bug us. I am not advocating we nit pick and have to vent every problem; however, if we cannot overlook it and move on…it will erode trust.

I find in the workplace, small miscommunications snowball into huge big issues if not dealt with in a professional, agreed upon manner. Knowing your communication style and the style of the others is the fastest way to trust and respect. Then have a conflict resolution process that everyone agrees to and commits to upholding. It is always the small issues that cause the cancer that destroys relationships.

Start With You

Here is a resource we offer to individuals in order to find out your own communication style. For the leader of a team, we suggest you get everyone on the same page (scroll down on our Workshops page to see our “Building the Extraordinary Team” workshop) to blaze forward into a profitable 2012. Every moment you wait to communicate you compromise results. A culture of accountability and commitment must start with communication.

Where do you struggle with communication?

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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