Showing posts with label Listen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Listen. Show all posts

March 27, 2019

Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.

These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 

Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don't know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 

And it's even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 

But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!

Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don't have all the facts. 

The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).

The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.

We need to get the other person's point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.

Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn't open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 

The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 12, 2018

Tongue-Tied Silence

Sometimes in life, people are left tongue-tied. 

Too shocked, shamed, confused, or abused to speak or perhaps to even know what to say anymore. 

Maybe in the face of some horrible things that happen in life, there really are no words.

Instead, the vacant or crazed look in the eyes says it all.

People go through a lot--some of it is inhumane.

Sometimes, only tears can even begin to express what they are feeling. 

I think one thing that is important to do, even when we're not sure what to say, is to acknowledge that it is okay. 

Silence is often golden. 

Listen more, watch more, feel more, learn more, reflect more. 

Ask more questions. 

Usually, I'm told to ask at least 5 times (i'd say at least 3) to decompose to what is really going on underneath the superficial covers. 
"Tell me more."
"What else?"
"Can you elaborate?"

Sometimes, people have difficulty getting in touch with their true feelings or accurately diagnosing what's bothering them.  

It's more than okay to be thoughtful, be deliberative. 

Words are often cheap, but they shouldn't be. 

Our words should be truthful, meaningful, insightful, even righteous. 

Take all the time you need, your words are worth it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2017

Conflict - Resolution or Escalation

So I thought this was interesting on the cause of conflict. 

There are four main parts:

1) Deprivation - You believe that someone is depriving you of something you need or want. This could be something physical like money, or an object or it could be inanimate such as love or respect. The feeling of deprivation is anchored in a real or perceived feeling or being deprived of access to resources or the imbalance who has those resources. 

2) Name - You identify the person you feel is causing you this deprivation. 

3) Blame - You blame them for their role in causing you harm. 

4) Claim - You justify the accusation by anchoring it in a claim that the other person has violated some social norm such as taking something that doesn't belong to them or violating an agreement you have with them and so on. 

As the conflict comes to a head, it is clear that people are feeling hurt, that there is a desire to correct the situation, and that you are going to confront the (perceived) culprit and make your case on why what they are doing is wrong and how it should be resolved. 

If you have the wrong person in the cross-hairs, your justification is weak or you're not telling the whole story (i.e. maybe you played a part or harmed the other person too), or the person just won't give you a fair hearing and sincerely work with you to resolve it, then the conflict may escalate from here.  

Usually, it's best to listen, empathize, negotiate, compromise, try to be reasonable, and resolve the situation at the earliest point possible.

If there is a greater conflict or risk to either party involved, then heels may get dug in and all avenues to resolving it can be open including legal and even all out war. 

Conflict is no game, but in some cases it may be unavoidable--and then the ramifications can be earth shattering. 

What to do when you're in a conflict situation? Think before you act, and then think again. 

Ultimately, peace is one of the greatest of blessings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 20, 2016

Who's Da Boss

At work, we all report to somebody--no matter high up the chain you go. 

IMHO, I think it's always important to remember though who the Big Boss is and He/She is the top of the food chain and is the one who really calls ALL the shots--and if you keep that in mind, you can show proper respect to your boss at work and follow their lead without falling on your sword in human antiauthoritarian revolt. 

Thus, in the earthly world, the boss in the corner office and on the high floor is the one who tells you what to do at work. 

Of course, the cardinal sin of management is be a micromanager--EVERYONE hates that and just wants to be told the goal but then let loose to get the job done--and not stood over and berated on how to do it and torn apart for everything they did [differently] "wrong" than perhaps their boss would've done it in their self-presumed all-knowing wisdom. 

Also, bosses who laud their boss status over their subordinates by telling and showing them how bossy boss with information and power, belittling them, they are--often these people are resented by the "plebeian workers" and as in the servitude of Egypt thousands of years ago, the Big Boss hears their prayers for justice and meets it out accordingly. 

The best bosses are human, humble, and admit mistakes, see people as children of G-d, have compassion, and treat their workers with due respect; genuinely listens to others, are inclusive, and values what each person brings to the table; says thank you and means it; looks for opportunities to recognize and reward people; and treat people as teammates and not indentured servants. 

Certainly, workers have a responsibility too--to give it their best and keep their commitments; to respect the "chain of command"; to tell it the way it is with some modicum of diplomacy and keep their bosses fully informed, to not demand the unreasonable or play games with the rules (that everyone at work lives under); and to generally be collegial and a team player 

One colleague on an interview told me that they were asked a really smart, tough question that put them on the spot, "Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with management?"

That could be a telling question or answer depending who's been naughty and nice at the office. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2014

Like A Rock Star

It's funny that people derive so much of their self esteem from others. 

If someone says something nice to/about them, then they feel on top of the world--full of worth, productive, successful, confident.

And when someone says something negative, then they get down in the dumps--depreciated, questioning, can't do anything right, like a failure.

Yet, it the same person inside--the same heart, the same soul.

Of course, we are impacted by our behavior (when we do good and not) and people's reactions to it--and we should be--it's a helpful feedback mechanism to let us know when we are messing up or as reinforcement to continue doing good things. 

But at the same time, people's feedback is not always correct or well-intentioned and certainly it doesn't necessarily represent holistically who we are...it's just a snapshot in time. 

So we need to take what people say and reflect back to us with a grain of salt--listen, try to understand, but also look at the bigger picture of you. 

You know yourself better than anyone else, so incorporate the feedback and use it to improve, but don't get bogged down by any person, event, or cheap talk.  

Yes, you can be a rock star, by reflecting from what others tell you, but more importantly by listening to that voice inside that guides you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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