There has been a definite global shift this year. We have spent almost two years on social media, in person, in business workshops talking about toxicity, and toxic people.
That time needs to be in the past. Anyone still talking about that now, is part of the problem that prevents emotional well-being being commonplace in workplaces. Still talking about toxicity, ‘feeds the kitten’, gives the attention to the toxic – not the rest of the workforce, who are reeling everyday in the aftermath of leaders who left it too late to address.
The stories that myself and other like-minded teachers have been seeing and hearing over recent years is horrifying. It is affecting mental health, physical health, relationships, families……and future generations in the legacy created by diminished communication due to stress, bullying, and ineffective management of people.
If you think it’s not your problem, you are deluding yourself. If you think by not speaking up it will go away – it will not. This is a new era. The toxic’s don’t get the attention any more – the rest do! The time to look away has gone.
One thing I have found to be true on my own journey towards exceptional communication…….. you are always at the mercy of others. In other words – you can work on yourself as long and diligently as you like, but you can’t control others words, actions or beliefs systems.
At least once a week I teach my class on communication styles. I ask people to be honest and own which communication style they favour as a default, and which they can hop into when the red fog takes over, or when common sense deserts them and they whinge to someone who doesn’t deserve to hear it (instead of telling the person who really needs to know). I ask people how much time they lose each week, which points to the level of passivity they are choosing for themselves.
In almost all cases people own their worst traits immediately. In some cases, they also see instantly the effect they have on others.
I teach what I know. What I have lived through, experienced and survived and thrived through. What I have observed from teaching thousands of people over the years. This experience brought me to my belief system that ALL communication when it fails, fails on just three things:
Assumption – What happens when you can’t be bothered to find out the facts!
Perception – The inescapable truth that everyone has a right to their own reality about what is happening (and that will invariably be different to yours!)
Ego – The part of you that encourages you to be right, to speak first, to speak last, to speak over. It looks and sounds a lot like judgement, opinion, moralisation, whinging, preaching. When you are running on ego you are living in statement-land not question-land. You are talking, not listening. You are merely waiting for your turn to chip in that you did that first, better, bigger, rather than let someone have their moment to shine.
Leaders are often oblivious to the fact that employees have a different communication style to their own, and different perceptions. Worse still? They do know, but don’t make any allowances for that.
If your style is to get things done instantly, you may have to take on board that others like time to think and process, and be more detail oriented.
If you pick up instructions quickly and then can act on them, allow yourself to imagine what it looks and sounds like when you are shouting instructions in a drive by situation to someone who can’t. It looks scary, they don’t hear it the first time, and then depending on their personality will not ask, but have a go and maybe get it wrong.
So, where does the magic lie? Where people can take into account others’ personality, behaviours, and communication style and still get the job done without frustration rearing its ugly head?
It’s so simple really. The magic lies in the transparency. In the ‘see it, say it’ moment. Ground Zero. Point of impact. Whatever you call it, it means the same – deal with it as it happens, not when the ‘emotional ping’ is so big that it mars your judgement, or causes harm in the workplace.
And here lies the single biggest challenge that employees face every day – hierarchy! What if the ‘problem’ is your boss? How do you tell them that? And, why would you when you are afraid of the consequences!
To cultivate truly humane work places you have to create a culture where your employees can tell you when it’s you that is the problem – and then teach them how to tell you.
The ‘how to’ would be a question – “Did you realise….?” “Help me understand…..” “Why do we……?” Your mission is to add to the equation……not subtract.
If you are the leader receiving information, check your ego at the door and be willing to listen and take incoming feedback in the spirit is has been given – who knows what you’ll find out. It is my premise that somewhere in every business someone has an answer or solution to exponential growth or success……but you may never get to hear that voice.
What will it take?
What will it take?
The realisation that we are ALL in this together. One consciousness. Compassionate, evolved humans. We are either sending out and living in dark energy with every whinge, every look away, every ‘not say’. Or we live in the light energy field, and build people up, let people shine, and see the whole person…….not just a person who is taking a pay check.
We are either part of the solution, or part of the problem. Which do you want to be this year?