The “Science” of Workplace Communication & Performance Management

When I was in school I did virtually anything I could to avoid science classes. For some reason they didn’t interest me and bored me to death.

The interesting thing was as a young boy I was totally enamored with astronauts and the United States efforts to put men on the moon and return them safely to earth. I loved the Apollo space program. Yet, I couldn’t make the leap to the science and engineering to make it all happen. Somewhere there was a disconnect.

In college, my communications degree program required only 10 credit hours of math and natural sciences which I focused on the basic math classes of algebra and calculus with one class of astronomy for non-majors.

What does any of this have to do with the work I do know helping improve leadership and workplace communication, you may be asking?

Well, here’s what…

In facilitating a recent client session where we were flushing out some “communication” issues between team members I blurted out the comment that “every human communication is going to have some type of reaction in the person to whom we are communicating.”

In that moment, I realized it was similar to Newton’s third law of physics, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Similar, but with one big difference.

Often, reactions to communication are not always “equal and opposite.” Nor should we want them to be.

Most times we want the reaction to our communication to be affirming, not opposite. Often, though, we do get the opposite reaction to what we were hoping for. That is where influencing communication skills come in handy.

You’ve probably also had the experience where the reaction to a communication was not only opposite but also unequal. By that I mean someone makes a request, inquiry or statement in a calm, respectful manner and receives an emotional outburst as a reaction that is totally inappropriate and uncalled for.

Similarly, arguments often escalate because each person does react equally to the other’s emotional intensity with a reaction that is not affirming but opposite from what they would like it to be, and the conflict ensues.

These are just some thoughts to build our communication skills that have been coming to me more since raising the issue in last week’s article calling for people to be more “conscious” when they communicate, instead of communicating with their default habits.

’til next time, let me know what you think and leave a comment below. Make it a great week!

P.S. – don’t forget to join me this Thursday, May 17th at 12noon Eastern time for my newest webinar Leadership for the Small Business: Avoiding the 5 Critical Mistakes that Kill Productivity & Profitsclick this link to learn more and register, it’s FREE!