How often do you really say what you mean?
Recently I came across this image on Linked In and instantly recognised its brilliance. The image sums up that a large percentage of the time we do not really say what we mean! I regularly stop to check when people say I’m fine. Are they really? In the workplace we have developed a habit of politely agreeing with people. We accept tasks so as not to offend. Often we really do not agree and don’t have intention of taking on the task. I find this with people at all levels in business. Its not just confined to more junior members who are reticent to say they cannot take on the task as they don’t have time. Nor to team members who lack confidence to ‘push back’, maybe to suggest they can only take on this task if they can pass another task.
So why do we do it?
Well a lot of it is habit. We have become used to passing things off and ‘agreeing to disagree’ in favour of expedient harmony. When in truth we are often just saving up trouble for the next time or delaying a decision. We are also, by the way, preventing the other person from really understanding our ‘truth’ . By not explaining what we are really thinking, the opportunity for the other person to really understand us is lost and perhaps even then they can take the chance to explain their ‘truth’ so we can really understand where they are coming from. So to really say what you mean would not only have benefits in developing greater understanding between team member it will undoubtedly have positive impact on business decisions. I’m a great believer in having direct dialogue i.e really say what you mean.
Are we hiding behind ourselves so as not to rock the boat?
I’d like to suggest we are! Oftentimes we take the route of less resistance in the misheld belief we are doing our bit for team harmony. I’ve had some powerful results running sessions on this topic, getting people to really understand how much extra they can offer by not giving stock responses that don’t reflect their actual view on the situation or shine light on a possible useful alternative. In essence they hold back on an idea for the business that could offer opportunities for change. Understanding when you do this yourself and spotting when others are doing it can be a really powerful springboard to more honest direct dialogue and getting us all to really say what we mean. At Lifeworks we will work with your team to give them the tools to have more open honest conversations.