Do You Hear What You Say?

Last time I wrote about the impact of tone of voice. This week is about content.

Are you aware of what you say when you speak to your staff (co-workers, family, friends…you get the picture)? Most breakdowns in the workplace can trace back to ineffective – or just plain old BAD – communication.

I’ve recalled several examples shared by clients during the past few weeks.

  • A manager berated some employees’ recent performance to another manager. No feedback was given to the employees in question.
  • A firm leader reprimanded a senior-level employee in front of other staff.
  • A manager told one of his direct reports that he had more important things to do than help her in that moment.

Contrast those examples to these:

  • A firm leader engaged key staff members in evaluating a potential new hire.
  •  A manager showcased the work of one of her people to her bosses.
  • A manager verbally announced the upcoming departure of an employee at the end of a staff meeting. He wished him well, and this preempted gossip about why he was leaving.

Unfortunately, for every bad or negative comment you utter, people will remember it as worse than when you said it.

When you’re frustrated, you need to figure out how to hold your emotions in check. Otherwise, the damage that occurs can take an enormously long time to reverse.

Saying what comes to mind without editing first is an aspect of self-regulation, a key component of emotional intelligence. If you see your behavior in any of the negative examples above, you will be well-served to work on this.

Pay attention to what you say in the week ahead. Catch yourself in the moment, and you will have taken the first big step to improvement.

Have a great week!

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