Every day, in our business and personal lives, we face moments when there is an apparent disconnect between expectations and what occurs. This disconnect can be a simple lack of understanding, confusion about what each party heard and needed, or even a complete breakdown of the objective at hand.
As a result, behaviors can go below the line, tempers can flare, feelings can be hurt, and important relationships can be at risk – creating negative impacts throughout an organization. Business performance can suffer, deadlines can slip, and workplace culture can become toxic. And our personal lives are no exception to the problem.
Resting at the root of most issues of conflict about anything, is a mis-aligned level of communication – crossed wires – or even sometimes a complete lack of communication at all. We’ve all likely heard about or played the game “Pass It Along” where someone whispers a phrase to another person, who then in-turn passes it along to the next person, and by the time the whispered phrase gets to the end and is revealed, what is said is nothing like the original. This happens all the time in business between Executives, Managers and Teams, and in our personal lives with loved ones, friends and family.
What if we understood our audiences more intimately and communicated in a manner that the person we’re speaking with wants to receive
– versus in the way we want to be heard
. With that one simple shift, we would all be so much better at the art of effective communicating, giving and receiving feedback, and applying emotional intelligence. The outcomes would be greatly improved.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, and it takes intentional effort, but by applying a few tools, we can begin to uncross the wires and be on the road to mastering the art of effective communicating.
Three Tools to Mastering Effective Communicating
1. Understand Social Styles
Understand the varying social styles of those we communicate with on a daily basis. We can often communicate fairly well with those who are just like us, but sometimes not as well when they are not. We’re all different; have varying degrees of confidence and empathy; and all wish to present and receive information in a manner that aligns with our appetite for detail, emotion, facts, figures and fun. In general, the four quadrants of social styles that everyone falls into are Driver, Social, Amiable, and Analytical. Communicate this way for best outcomes:
- Drivers – Be direct and focus on results.
- Socials – Be ready to make on-the-spot decisions and gain/give approval.
- Amiables – Be friendly, build rapport, and offer safe solutions.
- Analyticals – Be logical, calm, and have proof.
2. Apply Appropriate Feedback
Leveraging feedback models are a way to provide clear, constructive feedback with others for improved outcomes. They make it easier to communicate and discuss areas of improvement in order to obtain departmental and organizational goals. Overall, using a feedback model lends structure to the conversation, and uses a common language that everyone can become familiar with and use together. There are several effective models worthy of exploring:
- The Sandwich Model – Sandwich improvement between accomplishments.
- The SBI Model – SBI stands for Situation, Behavior, Impact.
- The STAR Model – Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- Pendleton Model – Employee participates in the review process.
- DESC Model – Describe, Express, Specify, Consequences
- The IDEA Model – Identify, Describe, Encourage, Agree
- The CEDAR Model – Context, Examples, Diagnosis, Action, Review
- 360 Degree Model – Anonymous, confidential feedback from others.
3. Cascade Messaging
Lastly, communications within an organization are all about messaging, and ensuring that key messages are cascaded throughout the company. All too often, Executive leaders meet and develop master plans and core messaging that are incredible but barely leave the conference room they were born in.
Ideology (Vision, Purpose, and Values) is one of those critical messages that needs legs and is essential to permeate to and through every department and employee of the company – every day. The organization should live and breathe by its vision, purpose and values, and every decision made should be rooted with these in mind.
Dirigo is a leadership development firm with a reputation for helping organizations develop, grow, and transform. Our clients value an outside perspective to help identify and overcome barriers to both organizational and individual performance. We strive to make a unique difference through our Dirigo Academy, Business Consulting and Brand Behavior services.