Communication is at the core of everything we do and the cornerstone for our relationships. How we communicate with ourselves and with others. It’s how we listen and how we respond. The next actions we or others take is built upon the foundation of our communication. If our communication is built on a foundation that people or circumstances are broke, then that’s exactly where our communication will come from. However, if our communication is built upon acknowledgment, then the foundation is much stronger. Instead of negativity and avoidance as a foundation.
To create great communication in any relationship we should acknowledge who the other person is for that relationship. So often we get caught up listening to our own point of views in life and we forget that there are others out there doing things that directly impact us.
Most people don’t get acknowledged for all the work they do and over time that leaves them feeling left unheard and feeling unimportant.
For example, I’ll use a story from last week working with a colleague. We were working to resolve an issue with a failed hard drive and the technician went out of his way to stop by the client’s office to help in the resolution of the problem. The action itself wasn’t huge but what it was for him was an extra thing to do in an already busy day. What I did was to take a moment to acknowledge him for his effort. Because I was listening to what he was doing made a difference for him. He thanked me for doing that and I am assuming felt heard and understood as a member of the team. In short, he knew who he was for the team and that what he does matters.
That’s the secret spice of great teamwork. Letting others know they and what they do does matter. Privately and publicly acknowledging someone for what they do and who they are for the people around them.
For example, let’s take one scenario and two different reactions and look at their impacts.
Your colleague is running late and you notice them and immediately start blaming them or judging them for that (it’s actually an automatic human response in a defense mechanism). Then all your communication is built upon the following mental contexts; They’re late, they don’t really care about this job, etc… Then, that’s how you’ll talk to them, email them, interact with them. You’re a late person who doesn’t show up on time…
What if we got curious…
If someone is running late instead of starting to blame them we could get curious and see how they are doing that day. Many times, in life we are dealing with things we would rather not share. A sick child, an elderly parent, a “pain-in-the-rear” teenager, struggling finances, a serious illness, the one in the family we’d rather not talk about, and many more things people deal with.
Your colleague is running late, and you then take a minute to ask them if everything is ok. They respond and tell you something you didn’t realize before you got curious. Maybe their child got sick that morning and they were still able to show up. When we take time to be curious for the other person they feel heard and acknowledged for dealing with what their circumstances. Your communication then is built on a foundation of being curious for them instead of judgment. By being curious then what happens is your point of view changes about the person and you’ll communicate to them with their circumstances in mind.
Can you see how reacting and communication from a curious point of view can completely change the context of a relationship? Instead of normally avoiding that person that day maybe you’d be more willing to connect with them. Maybe that would be your next big deal or maybe that would allow you to share that new idea you never felt comfortable with but might make a huge impact for the company.
My challenge for you.
Take 1 minute today and acknowledge someone you work with for who they are for and the impact they make on you or the company. Try it out at work and home and see what happens… You might be surprised.
If you’re challenged by this here’s an easy way to discover how valuable the person is and where to acknowledge from. If they suddenly died tomorrow how would you be impacted?
It’s so easy to get caught up in the “TO-DO” list each week and forget that the actions we take each day actually do make a difference and how we do it makes all difference.
In summary, be curious with people and acknowledge them for their efforts. No matter how small you might think they are. They might just be pretty big to the them.
Send me your feedback. I’d love to hear it.