You know the frustration, why won’t the people in your life most important to your success and happiness just listen? Why is it so hard for others to see your perspective, understand your needs, and operate as you would? Despite your efforts, and having the same conversation over and over, nothing is changing.
There are dozens of things that can impact how successful you are at getting your message through. Crazy schedules, work demands, personal challenges and geography differences are all factors that can get in the way. But, before you give up, there are a few important and controllable things you can do right now to be more effective.
1. Think about Communication Style
Everyone has a unique way of getting things done. Some people are big picture strategic thinkers, while others are more task-oriented. Some people talk out loud to process information, others love to work through problems alone. An important key to good communication is learning how their style differs from yours, then adapting. Are they fast or slow paced? Do they thrive on challenge or security?
If you are asking things from others that are in accordance with your style, not theirs, they will shut down the door of communication. Do they need facts, figures and details? Or are they most comfortable making decisions from an executive summary? There are all sorts of clues if you look to answer these questions. If you are expecting someone to be highly detail oriented and they are more effective with a big picture focus, perhaps you aren’t approaching them in the most effective way, or they aren’t being tapped for their real talents. When you put together a team or a partnership, different styles add value and bring something new to working through challenges. To realize that value however, you need to communicate with them according to their natural style, so they won’t shut down that door of communication. Only then, can they bring their strengths to the table.
2. Refocus on the Big Picture
Under pressure it is easy to get lost in the weeds. Time is short, results are needed right now. When it feels like there is not an extra minute to get something done, but nothing is getting done in the way you need it to be, it may be exactly the right time to take a time out. If you are not getting what you want, doing more of the same is not productive. Refocusing on the big picture might make the difference. It is easy to make the assumption that everyone around you knows the why behind the what. Without purpose or context, a task is just another thing on the to do list. Linking work to the bigger picture and helping others to realize the importance of the role they are playing in driving the future, can facilitate more effective outcomes.
3. Talk about What’s Working, and What’s Not
When it is obvious that there is tension between people it is critical not to continue to sweep it under the rug. While talking it out may feel like the last thing you want to do, the value of getting different perspectives out on the table is important. Avoiding mutual frustration will only become worse over Acknowledging that things don’t seem to be working in an optimal way, is the first step. Being open to another person’s perspective – their concerns, needs, challenges and expectations while sharing your own, can open the door to building an effective relationship. Co-creating a way to work better together can reap huge rewards to both parties.
4. Understand Motivators
Everyone is driven by a different set of motivators. Some people thrive on learning new things, others on helping others. There are people who would do just about anything to keep their lives in balance, while others would do anything to make more money. There are people who are driven to gain power, and others who are looking for more beauty in their day. When things aren’t working the way you want in a relationship there is a good possibility that the other person isn’t driven by the same things that you are. Think about what gets that person excited. Is there a way to link what you want from them to their drivers?
More effective communication, purpose, sharing different perspectives, and motivators can shorten that tunnel to understanding!
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, a business coaching and strategic planning company. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus on the few things that can make the biggest difference. Results include more impact, greater financial results, stronger leadership, and alignment