Monday, November 16, 2009

Communication styles

I have found this great website on communication.
I have chosen to look at my communication style, and look at my interaction with colleagues at work.

It is important to understand how your communication style is interpreted by others to avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings. The goal is communicate with assertion and avoid an aggressive, passive-aggressive or passive style of communication.

Aggressive Communication is classified by:

__You choose and make decisions for others.

__You are brutally honest.

__You are direct and forceful

__You are self enhancing and derogatory.

__You’ll participate in a win-lose situation only if you’ll win.

__You demand your own way.

__You feel righteous, superior, controlling – later possibly feeling guilt.

__Others feel humiliated, defensive, resentful and hurt around you.

__Others view you in the exchange as angry, vengeful, distrustful and fearful.

__The outcome is usually that your goal is achieved at the expense of others. Your rights are upheld but others are violated.

__Your underlying belief system is that you have to put others down to protect yourself.

Passive Communication

__You allow others to choose and make decisions for you.

__You are emotionally dishonest.

__You are indirect and self denying.

__You are inhibited.

__If you get your own way, it is by chance.

__You feel anxious, ignored, helpless, manipulated, angry at yourself and/or others.

__Others feel guilty or superior and frustrated with you.

__Others view you in the exchange as a pushover and that you don’t know what you want or how you stand on an issue.

__The outcome is that others achieve their goals at your expense. Your rights are violated.

__Your underlying belief is that you should never make someone uncomfortable or displeased except yourself.

Passive-Aggressive Communication

__You manipulate others to choose your way.

__You appear honest but underlying comments confuse.

__You tend towards indirectness with the air of being direct.

__You are self-enhancing but not straight forward about it.

__In win-lose situations you will make the opponent look bad or manipulate it so you win.

__If you don’t get your way you’ll make snide comments or pout and be the victim.

__You feel confused, unclear on how to feel, you’re angry but not sure why. Later you possibly feel guilty.

__Others feel confused, frustrated, not sure who you are or what you stand for or what to expect next.

__Others view you in the exchange as someone they need to protect themselves from and fear being manipulated and controlled.

__The outcome is that the goal is avoided or ignored as it cause such confusion or the outcome is the same as with an aggressive or passive style.

__Your underlying belief is that you need to fight to be heard and respected. If that means you need to manipulate, be passive or aggressive, so be it.

Assertive Communication

__You choose and make decisions for you.

__You are sensitive and caring with your honesty.

__You are direct.

__You are self-respecting, self expressive and straight forward.

__You convert win-lose situations to win-win ones.

__You are willing to compromise and negotiate.

__You feel confident, self-respecting, goal-oriented, valued. Later you may feel a sense of accomplishment.

__Others feel valued and respected.

__Others view you with respect, trust and understand where you stand.

__The outcome is determined by above-board negotiation. Your rights and others are respected.

__Your underlying belief is that you have a responsibility to protect your own rights. You respect others but not necessarily their behaviour.

An important aspect is self awareness>

Employers no longer just look for a set of industry related skills. They look for leadership potential and that includes a high level of emotional intelligence (EI). The competencies that make up EI include self-awareness, social awareness, self management and relationship management.

Being aware of your emotional triggers and why they trigger you is key to practicing emotional intelligence principles. Emotional triggers are events or personality types that cause an intense emotional response.

Common emotional triggers are:

Blatant incompetence
Poor executive leadership (no demonstration of values, inconsistent, poor decision making, unavailable or unapproachable)
Being overlooked for credit, accolades or promotions
Arrogance or inflated egos
Patronization or micro-management of subordinates
Back stabbing
Verbal attacks
Lack of communication
These are things that will frustrate and upset the best of us. The important point here is to see if they trigger intense, long-lasting reactions with ramifications that make it difficult to remain rational.

Handling criticism with grace is a skill that will get you promoted. It is important to understand how to disarm your critics and to be able to listen and not take it as a personal attack on your character.

Emotional outbursts impact those around you. Understand that your fluctuating moods and passionate reactions to things can affect productivity and morale.

Also found this great site on teamwork and communication

3. Do your team members feel free to disagree with you?

Some leaders feel that subordinates that disagree are showing disrespect and being insubordinate. Certainly if they are disagreeing without cause, that can be a sign of insubordination but no one is perfect and encouraging staff to present an opposing viewpoint and the rationale behind the argument can prevent costly mistakes or poor decision making. Frequently frontline workers have valuable insights as they are the point of contact with customers. It is very important to open the lines of communication so that you can receive this customer feedback. Try to not be defensive when your decisions are challenged and instead ask questions so that you fully understand why they think you are making the wrong decision. The more information you have, the better.

4. Do you have an open door policy?

How approachable you are will influence how many surprises you receive. If you are constantly finding out information too late, it may be because your team does not feel free to communicate with you. How have you created a climate based on fear? Do you threaten them with loss of their jobs, loss of resources or increased overtime? Do you lose your temper frequently over mistakes? Threats delivered overtly or subliminally will only create a climate of fear and a total communication breakdown.

In the next article, Change Management and Innovation: How a leader can effectively communicate change initiatives and encourage innovation in a team, we'll look at the questions:

5. Do your team members react to change initiatives well?

Improving self awareness>

Reacting with your gut is reacting when you are at an emotional peak. Try to take the time needed to regain emotional composure so that you can respond from your head i.e. allow time for the adrenalin and other chemicals to subside so that you are at a place of logic and reason. Generally this takes about 20 minutes. In some circumstances however, you may need to sleep on things and look at them fresh the next morning.

I think now that i am more aware of the types of communications i need to reflect and become more aware of myself.

So i have some questions that i want to reflect on over the next week, when communicating with my colleagues.

1. In times of miscommunication, how has this affected my work?
2. Has my communicating enabled others to be informed consistently?
3. Have I been direct and forceful with my communication?
4. How have others communicated with me?
5. Have there been times of emotional change when others have communicated with me?
6. Have I allowed others to make decisions for me?
7. Do others get confused or frustrated when communicating with me?
8. How do I handle situations that don’t go my way?
9. Do I feel valued and respected within the team?
10. Do I respect others opinions when I disagree with them? How do I communicate that I disagree? How does this impact the working relationship?
11. Am I approachable? Do I make myself available to communicate with?

Reflections to follow in 1/52 ish


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