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Are you an effective communicator?

Are you an effective communicator?

Most people are challenged with effective communication and most don’t realize it.

While there are many ways to look at effective communication, the one I find the most effective is understanding:

  1. Passive-

  2. Passive Aggressive-

  3. Aggressive-

  4. Assertive.

Passive is when someone tells you something that really bothers you and because you’re afraid to upset them, you don’t respond.

Passive-aggressive is when instead of responding directly to the person, you respond indirectly. So you’re passive to that person but aggressive to others. It can manifest itself by you slamming doors, barking at your subordinates, etc.

Aggressive is when you really let them have it, mostly by losing your cool, or getting visibly angry. It also ruins the relationship.

The problem with all of the above is that it’s very harmful to yourself, it can explode in a very bad way and /or cause depression, stress and other symptoms associated with these issues.

The most effective (win-win) way to communicate is by being assertive.

Some of the most important communication is using “I” vs. “You”.

“You” is evaluation of character, I represents my needs, etc.

In the graph, we see that assertiveness is considered win-win as it balances high courage and high consideration.

Let’s look at some examples:

A valuable employee is consistently late-we can turn a blind eye because they’re valuable-we can show some body language behind their back (such as pointing to everyone to look at the clock ;) or we can confront them in front of everyone or we can have an assertive conversation, such as…

Manager- (asks employee for a short meeting whenever they’re available or during break etc.).

  1. First ask employee how are things (especially if they’re usually on time)? Maybe there is something significant going on...

  2. Create a sandwich approach (first praise, then the criticism, then praise). While many disagree with this approach, I find it works the best in certain cultures ;)

  3. Saying-You’re a valued employee and we appreciate your work-I’m sure you’re aware that we have a very clear policy on timeliness and I need you to show up on time as we count on you to- i.e. Answer phones, etc.-we know you’re a responsible person and that’s why we’re having this conversation. What do you suggest we can do to make this a priority?

There are other approaches that can be used in different circumstances.

Kim Scott is famous for telling here story that happened at Google and wrote about it in her book called Radical Candor.

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