Many executives, managers, bosses and employees have been known to loudly yell from time to time. However, when yelling or shouting is the norm it can damage customer (internal and external) relationships irrevocably. This usually happens when the person has found yelling to work in the past and has no other objective model of how to effectively communicate. Most workers have experienced loud yelling. However, silent yelling can be more damaging.
Vanity is not a virtue. Frequent excuses about your inability to hear will inevitably curtail people from sharing critical news with you. If you have trouble physically hearing others, stop blaming them and set your ego aside. Get a hearing aid. Headsets can help too.
The silent impact. Cyber-space communication is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, email and other forms of electronic chatter can be easily misunderstood. They do not have the benefit of facial expression or voice inflection. Falsely believing it saves time, people have developed a bad habit of sending emails or text messages instead of talking it out with their employees, bosses or co-workers. Wait 24 hours to respond to any upsetting internet communiqué, thus allowing any misperceptions to de-escalate. Better yet! Talk it out face-to-face. Remember, most people only have a sixth grade reading (and writing) level.
Take responsibility. Some busy professionals can easily become upset, while others have too long a patience cycle. Both can be very detrimental when patience is lost! If this is the norm, talk with a therapist for emotional support. Seek objective support from your coach, or business advisor. Limit any venting to a selective couple of people. Please, be sure to ask permission to be candid; limit the time you spend venting. Disregard your ego’s need to exert undue pressure on others to support your view of the facts. Steamrolling only causes explosions, now and in the future. Formulate a win-win plan. When talking it out face-to-face, focus on shared goals and truly hearing their perceptions. If it’s a heated debate, include your boss in the discussions. All together, develop a new plan of action. Keep talking until it is resolved. Only rely upon conference calls as a second best alternative.
Don’t kill the messenger. When you react negatively to upsetting news, it can create defensiveness. You stop receiving critical business or office information from others. Making emotionally charged decisions in retaliation can backfire, making the situation worse (Think, “You’re fired!”). Employees will simply look the other way, or acquiesce, even when they know your mandated resolution won’t work. Or, hire an employment attorney. If you need to vent, ask permission first. It’s a great time to call your coach or business advisor. Learn to take time to collect your thoughts. Ask questions calmly. Listen to others’ replies objectively. Incorporate their ideas whenever possible.
Disagreements. In situations where there appears to be no agreement, it’s far more effective to say: “It seems like we disagree about that.” Why? It’s a fact. Trying to out-talk them OR browbeat them into your point of view isn’t going to work. Raising your voice will be even less effective. The silent treatment can be deadly to ongoing relationships because they know you have refused to listen to their points of view. Often this behavior speaks loudly, and can be interpreted to mean you are less than professional in how your handle yourself and your business. Listen, learn and look for areas of agreement. Build upon these for a win-win solution.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2011