Last week was another hectic one in my world, but I’m happy that I was able to complete a guest post amid all the craziness. You can check out my “Day In The Life Of…” guest posting at Searching for the Happiness. I follow Wendy’s fabulous blog and suggest that you do to. It’s such a breath of fresh air and I think you will really enjoy it.
On Friday I brought up the topic of learning the languages of your employees in my post. Today I would like to chat about a few ways to do that. For starters you could enroll yourself in one of the Dale Carnegie Training programs that focuses on communicating with diplomacy and tact. If it’s not possible to do formal assessments on your employees to learn how they best process the information then it’s time to use what you do know.
Do they tend to learn by observation or is it important for them to be more hands on? Do they communicate to others with short, straight to the point answers or questions? Are they relaxed and casual in the way they interact with others? All of these questions will lead you to clues that help you find out how your employees wish to communicate. Being quick and straight to the point when talking to a more casual employee can leave them feeling as if you are upset with them. In the inverse, causally getting around to your point with a more direct employee can leave them frustrated that you wouldn’t just spit the information out. Tailoring your communication style to those you are speaking with ensures that they receive the message in the most effective way for them to have a better understanding of the information you needed to share.
For example, I am an employee who is a bit more relaxing in my communication styles. Although I stay professional, I prefer meetings and training sessions that are lower on the stressful scale due to the level of voices and body language of those involved. Therefore, when someone is uptight, load and abrasive when speaking to me it can feel very confrontational and threatening which automatically would put me on the defense and make me mirror their ways. I’ve learned over the years to not play into people who are like that and allow myself to stay relaxed while in the moment, but it’s hard for some employees to do that. Simple conversations can get blown out of proportion, people get offended, and nothing is accomplished when communication isn’t in line between those speaking.
I have also learned how to speak to those above me. I’ve worked with managers who are my opposite. I once had a manager who only liked direct answers, no unnecessary back stories and tended to tune additional information out. In addition, he almost always displayed an uptight body language and demonstrated that he was closed off once he’s decided the conversation was over. Due to that I learned to get straight to the point and respond to his direct questions with direct answers. If he wanted more information he would ask and if he didn’t ask then he didn’t want to know it. On the other hand, I prefer to be “spoke to” instead of “spoken at” and he hadn’t learned that so I struggled to remind myself that he wasn’t aware that he was offensive when he spoke to me. Since I knew that he was not aware of the way he came off I could make the conscious effort to tell myself that he didn’t know he was rude. However, if I was an employee that didn’t recognize that fact then I could easily feel as if he’d been attacking me since day one. It would be completely natural for me to assume that he didn’t like me, my ways of doing my job, or the fact that I worked for that company.
When you speak to those who work for you, and those you work for today, take the time to use it as a learning experience. Watch, listen and learn the languages of those you work with so you can improve the way you work with them in the future. It’s for the best of your company and in some instances your sanity.