Attitude driving communications and outcomes

Everyone else but me

There’s not denying I exhibit the tendencies, attributes and traits of the infamous gen-y.  But if there’s one critical sticking point I’ve noticed in myself, and see mirrored in many of those I’ve worked in over the past years, is that we have too many expectations of those around us and perhaps not enough of ourselves.

We naturally have a expectation to demand why everyone else around us is acting in such an unfavourable manner, without ever looking at ourselves and are relationship with the situation.

It might be in the workplace – but there’s something I always try and remind myself of: in a workplace, we all want the same thing – to be happy, productive and work with great people.  No body actually wants to be a controlling douche bag, they just look at things are different, way and as a result, have a very different way of communicating it.

Hence, a person’s attitude will out doubtlessly affect their communication, which in experience, ultimately can affect the outcome.

When something isn’t going your way, or if everyone else but you seems to misunderstand: look at your attitude, then theirs, and work out the best way to communicate. This can also be a great way to know exactly what to address from a management point of view.  But be careful not to make too many assumptions or stereotypes (must read: just because I’m nice, don’t assume I’m dumb).

There’s the old NLP analogy and looks out our motivations (linked to desired outcome) and the way our attitude and perceptions affect the way it is communicated -

A man being followed by a hungry tiger, turned in desperation to face it, and cried: ‘Why don’t you leave me alone?’ The tiger answered: ‘Why don’t you
stop being so appetising?’

In any communication between two people, or in this case, between man and beast, there’s always more than one perspective. Sometimes we just can’t bgrasp that because we can’t see the way forward.

With interpersonal relationships the way we communicate (verbally, physically etc) is our expression of attitude, rather than desired outcome. Time and time again “misunderstanding” are a result of “miscommunication” when we all want the same thing.

Stop being angry, start being open and things will begin to resolve for the better.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Gavin Heaton at 9:14 am

    Being open also implies generosity. When you are generous, you don’t know where that will take you. When you are closed to that possibility, you won’t be going anywhere. Here’s to the generous travellers of life ;)

  2. Oscar at 9:42 am

    I’ve always been a little skeptical of the attributes ascribed to generations. Douchebags aside, I think the young place high expectations on those around them because their idealism is yet to be eroded by interpersonal experience. Ever since “respect your elders” and horsewhipping the young went out of fashion, post-adolescents have viewed their elders’ as impediments to getting things done.

    I completely agree that overreacting to your expectations of others is counterproductive. Empathy spectacles are occasionally required to correct this interpersonal myopia. But there’s also a lot to be said for that youthful idealism, iconoclasts who expect much from those around them might hurt feelings, but they also effect change. Irrespective of its factual accuracy, “The Social Network” depicted such a character, someone with an almost Aspergers Syndrome disregard for social niceties that sacrificed friends and colleagues on the altar of progress.

  3. Daniel Oyston at 12:50 pm

    Intent and Understanding are important.

    Very few people do something at work with bad intent just to make your life more difficult or to undermine you.

    However, rather than jumping to conclusions about their intent it is often very useful to have a conversation with them. The difficult part is having a conversation and coming from a place of “understanding” (what was your thinking when you did XYZ) rather than trying to make a point or even win points.

    A nice trick, especially if you think the topic may get heated, is to give them notice that you want to discuss a topic. This will make them feel less threatened than if you go and corner them in their office.

  4. Jye Author at 10:10 am

    Guys – you’ve all made some great points. Thanks so much for contributing. Plenty to dwell on.

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