How often do we get frustrated because we think we have communicated clearly, yet the response is off-track?
Or we hear someone else’s request, progress, and delivery only to find out we over-or under-estimated what was required.
If you’re anything like me (Elizabeth) this happens, and at times continues to happen, especially when we are under the pump, sharing new ideas or delegating to others.
In this month of illuminating the topic of communication and how we can potentially improve this for all parties, today we explore the mismatch of intended, versus received messages.
Something I learned decades ago when I first became a manager, was that the message I intended, is seldom the one received and it is up to ME to cross check the information ‘received’ with the receiver, and then fill in the gaps and clarify from there.
We all too readily believe that the message we gave (or sent) will be interpreted as we intended, and we are SOOOO WRONG on this.
Here is why:
👉 We all have our own isomorphs – the lens through which we receive messages
👉We all have our own meanings of words – the lens by which we interpret the messages
👉 We all have our own beliefs – the lens by which we make sense of the information
👉We all have our own baggage – the lens by which we respond to the information.
When we fail to recognise that these four things are absolute and true for BOTH sides of the communication process (x the number of people in the room), then it is absolutely understandable why we get communication and messages interpreted differently.
Let’s shift our gaze for a moment and think about a possible reframe of this. Instead of projecting the word “mis-communication” or but they got it “wrong” onto a situation or person, what if we initially recognise and KNOW that every statement, every word we utter or write, has the high probability of being interpreted differently to how we intended it.
When we understand this is a very real conundrum, then we will be able to take more time in working through the response we get, recognising that we are all unique and not the “same thinkers” (God forbid), and that we need to take the time to be present. We need to notice the body language and response we are getting (or not getting), ask for the clarification from the other person of their interpretation of the information with kindness, and give additional information with clarity and openness.
When we follow this process, we will then decrease the possibilities of mis-communication, frustration and annoyance, and increase trust, honesty and authenticity, on all sides.
Another win, win, win for Authentic Leadership!