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June, 2013

t's your true impact? 


Are you understood?

I am always surprised to find that most times we experience frustration with another person, the culprit is misunderstanding. Whether it be with an employee or boss, or at home with a spouse, child or significant other, it boils down to a lack of understanding. 

As leaders, the  frustration mounts when we believe we have adequately communicated...we have done our part.  Yet, we erroneously stop there, and don't really ask the question, what have they understood?

After all, communication and understanding are really two completely different concepts.  We can communicate all day long, but what was the understanding on the receiving end? Have you been fully understood?

Maybe it is my intuitive and insightful nature, but I can see this happening in front of my eyes every day. I see the nodding of the heads, the belief that "we are all on the same page" perspective...until two to three days later when frustrations mount and both parties are wondering what the other is doing and why someone dropped the ball.

Unfortunately, I have been living this scenario at home since we are in the midst of a major home renovation project which, like any major project in business, has many moving parts  requiring effective communication and understanding across a variety of parties.

The leader is accountable for ensuring communication and understanding. I am working on my general contractor so that he understand this. 

Here are some key points to help you as the leader ensure you are understood: 

 

1.  Ask more questions.
Part of being understood is asking questions so you know what the other person is thinking and understanding.  Asking the question "what have you heard me say?" is particularly effective when giving direction and ensuring tasks are completed.  Another effective question is "what do you need from me?" when there are overlapping responsibilities or interdependencies.

2.  Be clear with expectations.
Nothing can be more frustrating for both parties than getting something back that you didn't expect. "I didn't ask for that!".  When setting expectations, go back to point #1 to make sure your requests are clearly understood and confirmed.

3. Avoid Being Defensive.
Sometimes the leader can be at fault for not appropriately communicating. When leaders are defensive, communication and understanding cannot progress. One way to ensure the emotional battle is not escalating is to not add any more emotion into it.  Take ownership for your part and recognize that you may have not communicated correctly your expectations or goals.   Give people a second or third chance before deciding that the problem is them and not you.  Oftentimes the best way to change others' behavior is to first change our own.  
 

 

 

Laura Lopez is an award-winning author of The Connected and Committed Leader.  She is a leadership and branding expert who has been featured on the Today Show, Latina Voices Smart Talk, Living Smart and Fox News.

 

In addition, her accomplishments have been highlighted in several business periodicals including  Personal Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership Excellence. 

Laura can be contacted via her Web site at:

 


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All the best,
 
Laura Lopez
 
Laura Lopez & Company
www.Laura-Lopez.com
(713) 868-5025
cell (713) 828-8829