A vivid childhood memory for me is learning about and playing with mercury in school (due to associated risks, it’s probably not allowed today).
I distinctly remember touching that smooth silvery substance with my index finger.
Every time I touched it, it would break into multiple bubble pieces sliding away in different directions.
Communication problems in the workplace react much the same way when people try to touch them.
Yesterday I was reminded of this as two clients were struggling to craft language for a conversation to confront workplace behaviors.
Just like mercury, the substance of workplace communication problems changes shape when touched.
It’s my job to reshape, or reframe, the communication problems so we can deal with them effectively.
These two clients asked for my help.
What I learned in both situations was that my clients were focusing on the wrong conversation.
This happens every day in the workplace, frustrating many, and eroding relationships and killing trust.
One wanted to ask their boss to listen to them and not shut down their ideas, another wanted to ask their boss to stop micro-managing them.
Both seem like reasonable requests. They are very common issues many employees would like to request of their bosses.
Yet, because I was familiar with the work environment and these specific relationships I knew these conversations would not achieve the desired results.
I told both they were crafting the “wrong conversation” for the “right person.”
In both instances we restructured the conversation to focus on rebuilding a low trust relationship.
With this adjustment it may seem like it will take longer to achieve that original outcome, but in reality it had no chance of being successful in the first place.
I was coaching my clients on something called The 4 Conversations.
The 4 Conversations. may be the best workplace communication model I’ve ever created.
To learn more about it visit my blog article here and leave a comment letting me know what you think and how it may help your future conversations:
Make it a great week!