Interpersonal communication is complicated, isn’t it?
Trying to figure out the best way to communicate with multiple personalities in the work environment can be stressful and confusing, can’t it?
But, you have to start somewhere, don’t you
A place to start is by “presuming good intent.”
But, what does this mean, why is it important, and how does it work?
It’s not as hard as it sounds, but you do need to take a leap of faith to make it work.
Imagine you’re about to have a conversation with someone and your history with them has you presuming poor or negative intent.
What is your mindset heading into the interaction?
How are your defenses up?
How might those defenses cause you to place meanings and intentions on the other person’s language that judges their decisions or behaviors?
Here’s an example:
A new CEO comes in to lead a company.
His intention is to interview all other C-Level executives and vice presidents to get their ideas on the company’s strengths and areas for improvement.
When the schedule of appointments is released, COO, who had applied for the CEO position notices that his appointment is scheduled last, behind even the vice presidents.
He presumes he is scheduled last because this new CEO feels threatened by him and wants to meet with everyone else first to find his replacement.
This COO, instead of trying to build a relationship with the new CEO, holds back on vital information and is very short and curt. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as the COO is replaced a few months later.
In reality, the new CEO’s travel schedule conflicted with the COO’s vacation, and the CEO also wanted to meet with lower level executives first to understand the stresses they were under from their senior executives so he could discuss the VPs concerns.
Imagine, now, if the COO, had presumed good intent.
How might the future of the COO turned out different?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t assume because you will make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”
What if, instead of presuming negative/poor intent, even with people with whom you have a history of negative, passive-aggressive behavior, you first got curious to seek first understand, instead of judging first?
Presuming good intent changes the dynamic of the conversation.
Presuming good intent brings different energy to the conversation.
Presuming good intent will change the results of your conversation and can begin to build better relationships.
Give it a try, commit to presuming good intent in 2016!
What do you think? Please leave a comment below and add to the conversation here.
’til next time Communicate With Power!