I’m huge on effective & efficient interpersonal communication. If you aren’t aware of the difference, an expert on the subject says this:
There’s a vital difference between efficiency and effectiveness. You may be driving down the highway, enjoying great traveling weather, and getting terrific mileage. You may be very efficient. But if you’re headed south down the California coast on Highway 101 and your destination is New York City-some three thousand miles to the east-you’re not being very effective.-Stephen R. Covey, First Things First
Working on behalf of companies & brands and having to interact with people in various business settings for my own business, it is crucial that I listen with my ears, eyes, and restraint. When I mean restraint, I am referring to the principle of gathering relevant data before offering a solution, or even simply listening without trying to solve the other party’s dilemma. Too many conversations in the business world are charged with energetic-efforts to “convey a message” instead of looking to understand the other party first.
A Personal Observation
This last month, I observed a general manager lash-out at another employee over what he perceived to be a direct contradiction to his efforts. He was efficient in conveying his disapproval, according to his opinion. There was only one problem: his harsh tone and actions effectively communicated his fear and selfishness. His little tirade (even though they were limited to words) damaged the trust and esteem this employee had previously held of the GM. Taking the time to ask questions before jumping to a conclusion would have resulted in a successful exchange of information. Perhaps most importantly, it would have strengthened the working relationship between these two individuals.
The Take Away
The marks of a true professional are not (l)earned without experience. Effective leaders are individuals who have learned to listen and act based on facts and a desire to help those who fall within their circles of influence and governance. In other words, it never hurts to ask questions before jumping to conclusions. As a rule-of-thumb:
He who jumps to a conclusion, can expect to land unfavorably hard.
It always helps to visualize a positive outcome from a particular communication while you are engaged in that communication. Sincerity does not mean that we have to agree with others, but it does mean that we should possess a sincere interest to be of service to them. This is one mark of a true professional.