4 Skills to Speak with Clarity in Tough Conversations

4 Skills to Speak with Clarity in Tough Conversations

Miscommunication… What an annoying word! We hear and experience it all the time, with seemingly no end to the “mis-” of it all. Miscommunication is inevitable when we’re dealing with people. Right? Maybe not. Being human guarantees we won’t “get it right” 100% of the time—it also means we strive to do and be better, so if we can reduce the amount of miscommunication on our end of things, we can contribute to the general death of “miscommunication”. Though there are many things contributing to poor communication, speaking with clarity—our message is delivered inline with our intentions—goes a long, long, long way in preventing drama and repetitive conversations. There are 4 skills we can employ to speak with clarity when conversations get tough: Story ≠ truth Say what you mean Share how you got to your conclusions Do NOT exaggerate Reflecting on the previous night’s events, Patrick shook his head in disbelief.  He estimated a single email had blown up to at least 20 emails, 5 phone calls, 20+ texts, multiple hallway conversations, snaps, instant messages, etc.  Not good for his career. Unfortunately, we tend to kick up a lot dust when it comes to tough conversations.  Rewind back 12 hours.  Patrick was running the night shift.  After he had the team settled in on the schedule and made his rounds he sat down to catch up on emails.  Shortly after he began a new email popped up from the night operational administrator, Cindy.  It was short and direct.  “Prep room 8015 on the East wing.  We have a VIP arriving tomorrow morning and that room is to be held for them.”...
Does going to work feel like a drama fest?

Does going to work feel like a drama fest?

Teamwork feel more like team-drama? Most of us know what it feels like to be on a team that feels more like a high school locker room than a professional workplace. If you look back on those experiences, you probably feel certain of who or what the problem was. Here’s the problem with that: we don’t often know things, we usually assume them. Our perspectives are stories.  Our stories are missed opportunity. However, when we look at our teams through StrengthsFinder and choose to get curious (instead of judgmental), we can transform our workplaces from a drama fest to a professional, goal-oriented workplace. In other words, you can unleash the vibe of your Tryb! Take our friend, Tracy, for example. Here’s a snapshot of a typical day at work for her: Tracy walked slowly down the hall, rarely making eye contact, checking her phone. Tracy rarely engaged people around the office in small talk except for a couple of her peers. Amongst the staff, the general opinion was that Tracy didn’t care, was arrogant and had her favorite clique. You were either in or you were out. Most felt they were out. As Tracy walked through the building she felt people were avoiding her. She noticed Shara look up, frown, and stare at her computer. Across the room, Thomas was shuffling papers on a desk that looked like it should be on the tv show about hoarders. As she neared Marcus’s desk, she could hear a lively discussion taking place until they noticed her, at which point they abruptly halted the conversation and moved on. As she reached the conference room, Tracy...
How to Break the Cycle of Distrust on Your Team

How to Break the Cycle of Distrust on Your Team

Trust in the workplace is an interesting topic.  Trust starts with communication, specifically with the ability to handle Tough Conversations. Tough Conversations are those involving anything that makes us uncomfortable, sparks emotions, requires vulnerability, etc.  For example: questioning your boss discussing performance issues asking for a raise proposing a major process change correcting a coworker, or asking for clarification on how anonymity is maintained on employee surveys The less a team is willing to step into these Tough Conversations, the more space they leave for stories about the motives of others.  The more the stories grow, the more trust shrinks and before long, voilà! The cycle of doom takes hold. Consider the annual employee survey when trust is missing: In this cycle: Employees feel management doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, and does whatever they want regardless of employee input.  The perspective on feedback is that it’s a waste of time and makes the person offering it a target. Management feels employees are disengaged and not aligned to organizational objectives.  The perspective becomes a need to micromanage and control versus empower and grow. Solution: Avoid or break the cycle of distrust and learn to handle your team’s Tough Conversations. Tough Conversations are complex and unfortunately not something covered in grade school or college.  We get very little training on how to handle them effectively with candor and skill.  Most people just wing it. Here’s some tips on how to begin: Accept that everyone is different. We all bring different Strengths, blind spots, experiences, and knowledge. Avoid blame. It’s judgement and doesn’t move conversation forward. Be curious. Seek understanding. Clarify intent, yours...
3 Steps to Get Your Communication Back on Track

3 Steps to Get Your Communication Back on Track

Any of the following familiar? You feel more like you’re talking at the team instead of with the team. The team complains about communication. Not enough of the right and too much of the wrong. You get 100+ emails a day, they never stop and the only thing you have to show for it is increased anxiety and frustration You over-communicate initiatives, goals, and updates with minimal results Seek first to understand, then to be understood. – Stephen Covey Try the following 3 steps: #1 Know Thyself. We each have our own unique filter for how we see, hear, and understand the world.  Genetics, talents, experience, education, situation, and motivation are unique for each of us.  At Trybal Performance, we utilize the StrengthsFinder tool to help individuals define and understand their filters for the world around them.  Regardless of the tool you use, find something to help you gain insight into you.  Ask for feedback from those around you.  Reflect on when your communication was most successful and least successful.  Get curious and seek to understand you. #2 Know Thy Team Make it a point to understand the individuals on your team and help them understand you.  Often, we assume our filter is right and everyone else should have the same.  Based on those assumptions we communicate with little serious thought to how those around us receive and process the information we’re delivering.  We also don’t clearly help those around us understand how we see, hear, and understand what they’re sending our way.  Openly discuss and evaluate team communication.  What works and what doesn’t?  Get curious and seek to...
The #1 Tool You’re Missing in Your Tough Conversations

The #1 Tool You’re Missing in Your Tough Conversations

The overload of information, opinions, stories, and accusations in our world today is overwhelming! Lines are drawn. Emotions are high. Feelings are hurt. Anger grows. We’re all seeking to understand each other.  Well, maybe not exactly…though we can all agree we are seeking to be understood ourselves. True communication is a two-way street. Unfortunately, it’s often turned into a one-way street where  we are either pushing our message on someone, or someone is pushing their message on us. In many cases, there’s a game-changing tool missing from our communication toolboxes. This tool is so powerful, when wielded correctly it has the ability to transform tough conversations into building bridges. Here’s the great news - we all posses this must have tool, we just need to deliberately utilize it. Curiosity is the key to conversation mechanics. Getting curious during tough conversations can help you: Harness the power of conflict Turn disagreement into a learning opportunity Shift from accusations and stories to understanding Make Facebook great again Curiosity is an AMAZING tool! We just have to remember to dig it out and use it, even when sometimes we feel like using a hammer. Imagine the next time you make a statement at work or home and instead of getting strange looks or arguments, someone simply asked, “Can you help me understand?” What if disagreements at work quickly turned into sharing knowledge in search of the best solution instead of a battle of authority? What if conflict was healthy because each time it arose, it was used as an opportunity to learn from one another instead of a battle to get our way?...