Having read 'Whose relationship is it anyway', hopefully you are taking (even) more responsibility for the relationships that you have with the people you work for and with, and the people who may work for you.
Responsibility means owning your relationships and the key part that you play in them rather than denying that you have a part to play, blaming the other person for the state of the relationship, or rationalising the situation “this relationship will never work because he/she is just like my last line manager and we did not get on either”.
It means seeing yourself as both the cause and the effect of the relationships you have with others. It is also about knowing that you own and are responsible for your learning, development and personal improvement that will all help you to produce the results that you looking for in your relationships.
Our main focus today is on communication in your relationships, specifically communication as a response. For example it can be a response to:
- A need to know something
- An idea or suggestion we have thought of, that we want others to hear about
- A statement or opinion that we want to express
- A question which we need answering
- Our desire to get to know someone better
- An idea or suggestion that someone has made that we want to understand more
- A statement or opinion someone has expressed that we agree/disagree with
- A question someone has asked that they want us to answer
Being ‘response-able’ means that you can respond appropriately and effectively to a need that has arisen or to satisfy a need that someone else has through your ability to communicate with them.
It then means identifying the communication strengths that you bring to relationship and the areas that you aren’t as strong in that would benefit from improvement (let’s call them strengths you have yet to develop). Once you have identified these, the next step is taking the time and necessary action to make those improvements appropriately or to make other adjustments. Take a moment to think about the following questions:
- Do you understand the basic principles of effective communication and are you able to apply them effectively to communicate in response to your own or another’s needs?
- Are you able to clearly identify disagreements or conflicts of interest between yourself and others and where they stem from? Do you then communicate clearly to help you and the other person reach agreement?
- Are you able to understand the importance of sharing information with the people around you and then deliver that information in a way that makes it easier for other people to understand and respond to you?
- Do you help others to be response-able through your own effective communication skills?
To answer these questions requires the application of an objective and observant eye towards ourselves. If you ever find yourself walking away from a conversation thinking that you are confused or not sure the other person quite understood what you were saying, taking time to reflect on what happened is the next step in becoming more response-able.
Become aware of how people react when you speak, for example – if someone frowns when you are speaking. Could this be because they don’t know what you are saying? Maybe it’s because they don’t agree with it?
When we are response-able we find this out at the time and work with whatever answer we get. When we are learning to be response-able, reflecting on what you said, the types of questions you asked or were asked etc., and what you might do differently next allows you to scope out an approach for improvement. Even though the next approach may also need adjustments it is a great way to keep on reflecting, improving and developing your ability to respond.
Effectively getting and making use of feedback on your communication allows you to adjust and improve as you go which allows you to develop communication that works. Of course there are barriers in the communication loop that are useful to be aware of to help you continue your development. We will look at these in the next communication instalment “Mind the barriers”.
Want to know how to improve the communication in your organisation? Contact us today to find out how we can help you build the right solution for your people.
Denise Campbell, Learning Professional
Passionate about working with leaders and managers who want to contribute significantly in their own area of work and inspire those they work with to deliver the goals they are collectively responsible for.
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