Welcome back, everyone! We hope that you had a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend and are ready to dive into another read with a fresh mind and perspective. This week, I saw it valuable that we discuss a topic that others may find uncomfortable, unprecedented, and difficult to navigate…. what do you do if your manager and your communication styles are not aligned? How do you resolve conflict and meet in the middle? Where should you compromise? Find out everything you need to know HERE!
Let’s be realistic, throughout your career, you will likely run into a superior (a boss, manager, director, or even teammate) whose communication style does not match your own. Maybe this person is blunter than you are used to, requires touch base conversations more often than you’d hope, or micro-manages in a way you hadn’t seen before. How do you move forward in a way that works for you both?
- Implement the 24-hour Rule: Especially for those unavoidable days when nothing seems to be going your way, remember the value of the 24-hour rule. Although you might feel agitated or frustrated at the moment, by allowing yourself a day to cool down, you will be able to assess any given situation with a greater understanding of someone else’s perspective and with a clearer mindset. After 24-hours pass, you are in a much better position to take the action you believe is appropriate. This may mean confrontation, an assessment of what went right or wrong, the initiation of a discussion with your coworkers before management, etc… it’s all better than acting out of initial rage!
- Taking Stock of Your Strengths and Weaknesses: In order to get to the bottom of the communication gap, circle back to your own strengths and weaknesses to find the root of your emotion. Are you being tasked with projects that take advantage of your strengths or weaknesses? Is your boss providing you with responsibilities because they see your true value and potential? Have you expressed areas of improvement with your manager? Tackling the root of your feelings by identifying why a given situation is making you upset will allow you to see the bigger picture of why you were given the work in the first place.
- Preparation is Key: Before you initiate a discussion with this person to create a common ground and guide communication strategy in the future, do some prep work. Having the ability to enter a conversation with concrete examples of the gaps you’ve seen, or what has been causing your disagreement will make for a far more productive conversation. This is also a great way to prove to this person that you’ve done your homework, have a basis of belief and key points to target for potential change.
- Set Boundaries or Expectations: I also want to reiterate the importance of transparency… if you give this person the benefit of the doubt or take a moment to step in their shoes, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find out. More likely than not, communication gaps are a result of misinterpretation and can be avoided or resolved by simply documenting and discussing your preferences. Set expectations for when to touch base, what responsibilities belong to who, and how to meet in the middle to optimize both your efficiency and preferences.
Make sure to always be cautious of your tone (avoid being accusatory!), facial expressions, body language, and pace (take a breath and slow down!). Conflict, as we know it, is a part of life that we cannot avoid! So, learning the strategies to handle it appropriately is your key to success.
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