I had a realization today that wasn’t altogether pleasant, but was definitely a moment to learn from. I’ve always know that how you say a thing matters more than what you say, but today it landed home that I am not paying as much attention to that as I thought.
My boyfriend and I were rearranging the apartment to make things more welcoming comfortable, and he asked a couple of questions. I asked him what he thought of the layout we’d managed so far and he suggested moving something. It made sense to me, so I said “ok” and started moving it.
He suddenly got very serious and said “Are we ok?” Apparently in my focused work mode I had been giving one-word answers for quite a while, and he thought I was upset with him about something.
You see, I’m not naturally good with people. When I’m not thinking about my delivery I fall back into thoughtless, efficient communication. In this case, as I’m sure has been true many times in the past, my body language and tone were coming off as upset or annoyed when I was neither of those things.
No good! Very Bad! 😦
So, we got into a bit of a conversation about it, and my love gave me some wonderful advice. Specifically, as it applies to avoiding having a similar misunderstanding of this nature at work in the future.
It was simple and beautiful. “Treat your coworkers like you would customers.”
I have all the best intentions and regard my coworkers fondly, I simply have the verbal equivalent of resting bitch face. I get casual with my coworkers and stop focusing on my communication when I am really focused on my work. By treating my coworkers like I treat customers, I will be sure to talk to give them my full attention and, in doing so, not fall into the speech patterns that make people think I am annoyed with them when I am not.
A leader needs to be good with people, whether naturally or through a intentional practice, and this is something I work on on a daily basis. By taking my love’s advice to heart, I genuinely believe I can avoid my most common miscommunication.
Are you good with people naturally? Or do you have some tricks for getting along well?