Communication in Teams: Intent Vs. Impact
We have all been there or observed an interaction gone awry. The words came out wrong. Being in a hurry, maybe the tone of your voice was a little less than pleasant.
If you were the speaker, did you recognize the misstep and make amends? If you were the person on the receiving end, did you react, avoid, or handle the situation with grace?
Every day we engage others in conversations. As the pace and complexities of the workplace increase, communication is bound to break down from time to time. Simply put, communication is a process of people sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a commonly understandable way.
Communication is a two-way street – speaking and listening. A breakdown happens when the impact of a message is not the same as the intent of the message.
Here are some common challenges in communication (Magid, R., SoundBoard Consulting Group, LLC):
1. The speaker’s ability to clearly express self
2. The listener’s ability to hear what is actually said
3. Intentions of the people are not always known
4. One or both parties may make incorrect assumptions or judgments
Ineffective communication can be the first step towards becoming a dysfunctional team. Over time, trust and accountability are diminished and can ultimately lead to reduced productivity and wasted resources – human and financial.
So, how can tell if your message’s intent and impact aligned? According to Daniel Goleman, the authority on Emotional Intelligence, most people do not explicitly state how they feel (especially in the workplace); it is up to you to read the non-verbal signs. It is important to remind ourselves that good intentions do not negate negative impact.
When you realize your intent and the impact were not in sync at work, with friends, or at home, fortunately there are a few easy steps that you can take to arrive at a positive solution:
1. Assess what happened
2. Take responsibility for your actions
3. Be honest about your intention
4. Work to understand the other person’s perspective
5. Find out how you can handle the situation differently
6. Make amends
Career Girls, this process will help you be an even better team member and leader. Words can pack a lot of power. Strong communication skills are essential to healthy, positive relationships.