Even though you think you are being clear, the only way you can be sure is by asking the other person what they heard you say and what it meant to them. Words like “success” or “right” can be interpreted differently just like directing someone to “keep you posted” can result in dramatically different behaviors depending on how those words are interpreted.
TRY THIS: Write down 5 words that come to mind when you think of “success”. Tomorrow, ask a couple of your team members to write down their 5 words before you tell them what yours were.
For a team to work effectively together they must trust one another’s motives and intentions. Each member must also feel heard and understood. Trust lies in the pre-frontal cortex or the “CEO” portion of our brain while distrust lies in our amygdala. Understanding what triggers trust and distrust is what Judith Glaser’s book, Conversational Intelligence, is about.
DO THIS: Watch and listen to this webinar from Judith Glaser if you desire to communicate more effectively. (It’s an hour that’s well worth your time if you lead others.)
DON’T ASSUME: that other people interpret your words the way you meant them to. They don’t. To help with this challenge, start conversations and meetings by stating your intention. This will allow people to understand your motives. When team members understand your motives they are more likely to feel safe so they will operate in their pre-frontal cortex which is where collaboration is created.
As leaders, we need to work harder to explain our intention behind our decisions. We need to ask questions to team members we don’t know the answer to in order to bring out higher-level thinking. This week, listen carefully to the words other people use to describe what they are thinking and feeling. Our words create our world. When you understand a person’s world you unlock the secret to what motivates and engages them.
THINK ABOUT THIS: How are the words your inner voice is using directing your behaviors? Are they your words or someone else’s that were implanted a long time ago? Are they still true or just leftover thoughts and beliefs you haven’t intentionally given much thought or consideration to in a long time?
SPECIAL THANKS to the IT team at Corvesta for allowing me to be a speaker at the kick-off of their new project. Working with super smart people on new innovations is exciting and fun! Thank you to Susan Campbell, Micah Almond, Amber Mayhue, and the rest of the leadership team at Corvesta for allowing us to a part of that event .