Our communication choice determines the quality of the outcomes we achieve. Many conflicts could be avoided, and results improved, if people would talk with each other, rather than just talk about each other.
What a simple but powerful statement!
I’m a great believer that if you leave a void of communication with someone else, if the level of trust is low, they will fill the void with what is wrong with the relationship rather than what is right. We see plenty of evidence of that around us.
This rule of thumb applies at a macro level also. You need look no further than the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, China and Taiwan where lives are lost.
Taking The Opportunity To Improve Communication
Let’s start the repair by looking in our own backyard. When you have conflict, do you make an effort to understand the other’s point of view? That one step can be powerful in rebuilding trust and it takes both emotional intelligence and interpersonal flexibility.
Just yesterday I was speaking with a loyal client of 20 years. He recollected some of the interactions I had with his team.
“I had two managers who couldn’t see eye to eye. I gave them an ultimatum – ‘if you don’t sort out your conflict, I’ll sack both of you’”
What You Measure You Treasure
Through the Bridgeworks process, and measuring his leader’s interpersonal flexibility and communication style (via the DISC behavioural tool), we sorted the issue in a win-win manner.
Sounds easy! But how do you take the first step in conciliation? How about having a conversation in a safe environment, ideally guided by feedback in the form of data?
Going back to my initial statement… “people would talk to each other, rather than just talk about each other”. Gossip is a killer in workplaces (and in personal and corporate lives; and yes, sadly it can be a ‘killer’) whereas conversations can be gold.
Martin Luther King said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’
Facilitating Communication Choice In A Safe Learning Environment
Helping team members make the best communication choice is a key element of our programs. Bridgeworks uses good quality data and powerful (and fun) interactive challenges to put decision making, trust and relationship under the microscope. The conversation or clash, are both allowed to come to the surface in an environment of ‘safety’.
So, what is a powerful interactive challenge?
In short an interactive challenge is a hands-on, practical activity that naturally brings to the surface the issues that people need to discuss: For example, our diversity, our levels (or lack of) trust, our decision making process and our awareness (or lack of) each other.
One of the classic challenges in stimulating authentic communication leading to effective collaboration is the Red Blue exercise. As in business, we are all driven by our KPIs to maximise our result on the bottom line. The nature of this challenge deliberately creates a void in communication. Once established, the outcome is dictated by the natural level of collaboration (or non-collaboration) in that team.
The resulting behaviours and individual attitudes towards each other reveal themselves. And, by the end of the challenge, the real conversation can begin drawing real examples from the workplace.
This, combined with the powerful individual and team data, makes for a powerful learning for all.
Building Healthy Relationships And Dealing With Risk
Every time we enter a relationship we take a risk. All relationships require trust. Trust in a dynamic relationship grows and endures. The beginning of trust is believing in others – a tough ask in today’s climate driven mostly by fear.
If you want to improve communication choice, collaboration and innovation in your team, I’m sure to have the right tools to deal with your situation no matter where your starting point is.
Give me a call, I’m looking forward to hearing from you – Wayne Dyson 0402 300999