I used to work for a fairly large company in their business marketing division. The division president was an extremely difficult person to work with, for his direct reports on down to us in the support areas.
Joe (not his real name) would review sales figures by the hour, not the day. As a micro-manager, if sales were not keeping up with his expectations, he would scold, shame, and yell. He'd remind everyone, usually red-faced and shouting, how easily they could be replaced. As I recall, he did not focus on trends but on specific numbers. A month's sales could be excellent, but day to day, he'd yell if that day's goals were not met.
The business culture was, of course, fear. And as I've come to understand decades later, not only did Joe create fear within his division, but his own anger hid a deep fear within himself. Fear of not doing it right, fear of failure, fear of his own superiors and of losing his job.
I wonder what sales would have resulted from a culture of support, excitement, and teamwork. "We're in this together...how can we support each other?"
Whether you're a solo-preneur or work in mainstream business, is the business culture positive or fearful? Within your own area of control, how can you contribute to a positive experience? Remember, what you focus on grows. Can you focus today on something good? Can you support a co-worker? Can you smile at someone at the coffee station?
Every small act of kindness has a powerful effect. Use your power wisely!
Have you ever noticed two people having a conversation but neither is hearing the other? I have experienced that myself - haven't we all? Did you realize there are levels of comprehension involved?
Hearing is, of course, the mechanical, physical act of perceiving sound. You hear words and comprehend them. Listening is active...you pay attention to what you are hearing. You focus, sit in silence, and take in the words and their meaning, while observing subtle cues like facial expressions and body language.
Understanding is another level entirely. What you take in is not always what is expressed. You each come from your own unique viewpoint, history, communication styles, and word usage.
To communicate effectively in a conversation, you can check in with the other person to validate what you're understanding. "What I hear you saying is...." "So, you think that...." You may find that you either missed a point, or misunderstood entirely, and this gives the other person a chance to reword their message.
Too often in our culture we listen with the intent to respond. Of course conversation is a give-and-take exchange, but true listening has the intent to understand, not always respond. Worst of all is when someone responds with, "Well, I...." Immediately turning the focus on yourself completely negates the message of the other person.
A form of listening also occurs in written exchanges like text or email. Using the correct words in the correct context, tailoring your message for your audience, and asking for feedback can help smooth the path to clear understanding. As a "listener" to a written conversation, be sure to read carefully and take the time for full comprehension before responding.
Becoming more mindful in conversation, both written and verbal, can lead to clearer understanding and better relationships!
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