My great grandmother, I’m told, used to say, There is nothing new under the sun. And though a bit of a generalization, when it comes to interpersonal skills, it’s pretty much true. Do unto others as they would like to be done onto. The rest, as they say, is commentary.
Yet, because many of us think this guideline doesn’t really really apply to us, we treat people the way we think they should be treated. Which as it turns out, isn’t nearly as well as we think we should be treated.
And even when we are convinced the guideline should apply, often we haven’t been taught how to apply it, just that we should. (“Play nice” doesn’t teach us how to do so.)
Client after client tells me the biggest productivity challenge is a lack of clear, respectful communication among colleagues and between departments.
Start here: The next time someone with whom you don’t have a good relationship says something really annoying (or worse), step back for a moment. Ask yourself: why would a normal, decent person say that? (Yes, I know. Because they’re neither normal nor decent. No! Let it go!!) Usually it’s because they’re missing information or they have information you don’t. Choose to take the high road (my great grandmother would’ve said, you be the grown up) and respectfully say something like: It sounds like you have more information about this than I do. Can you help me to better understand?
Then, listen. It really isn’t difficult. You just need to know how.
Are communication challenges your biggest productivity waster?
Which tactic do you use more often when you deal with negative and nasty people?
Vent with your friends
Ignore it (again)
Please comment below!
Here comes a blatant pitch for my services: If you deal with people who are negative and nasty, you won’t win by avoiding, ignoring or attacking them. Because you’re trying to “play by the rules” you’ll only become more stressed and less productive. Learn how you can have a professional, meaningful conversation even with the person who drives you nuts. (This does not include your mother, your former best friend or your ex-life partner. It does include all co-workers, bosses and customers.) Your entire office will thank you for scheduling Communicating When Strangling Isn’t an Option.