Who do you have a hard time communicating with at work? Who can’t you get on the same page with? Almost everyone can think of at least one person fairly quickly. Far too often, we form opinions about the other person and label someone as “difficult” or “hard to work with,” instead of seeing what is really happening: miscommunication and different perspectives. The more important question to ask in these situations is “why?” Why is there a struggle to connect with one another and why do we do things differently? Here are three tips to help you figure out that “why” and connect better with your colleagues.
Most communication challenges stem from a lack of perspective of your own style and the style of the other person. Before you can make any adjustments to connect better, take a step back and carefully listen to the other person. Listen to what they are saying, how they are saying it and what they are focusing on. Ask yourself these questions:
Once you have a good understanding of where the other person is starting from, ask the same questions of yourself. If this is a little challenging or you aren’t quite sure how you would respond, ask someone who knows you best to help you with this part.
An outside-in perspective of your communication style may highlight things that you weren’t even aware of. You can also take a free personality test, like the DiSC, to give you a framework and quick read. Ask yourself these questions:
Knowing your own communication preferences, as well as the other person’s perspective, gives you insight into where there could be disconnects in conversation. Then, you can better tailor your messaging to meet somewhere in the middle.
Sometimes, you won’t know how to best communicate with someone, or you’ll have trouble understanding the other person’s perspective. When this happens, balance your communications, which means covering all perspectives. This is actually a best practice for any communication, as it gives a more holistic picture of the message. Ask yourself:
We all bring unique perspectives to the conversation, which, at times can lead to misalignment or confusion. Start with listening to the other person’s point of view and see if you can articulate your own perspective. When none of that is clear or even as a best communication best practice, use the balanced communications framework.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Kristy is an executive coach and talent management consultant, who is known for helping individuals, teams and organizations unleash their potential, one conversation at a time. What is your Next conversation? Check out Next Conversation Coaching to see how she can help you today.