Real Communication is not Always Easy, but it’s Worth the Investment

By Kathryn Igou

TLG VP Operations

How often do you bite your tongue in a meeting? Or listen as the same people hog the conversation? Do you tend to just let it slide? Do you ever say anything about it?

If you see bad behavior in the office, do you just ignore it? Or do you have a real conversation about it. Have you ever noticed that the quiet people often have the most important things to say?

Is your desk a nightmare of stacked files and papers or is your workspace a pristine island of Zen organization?

I recently participated in a Leadership Behavior Assessment that looked at natural talents for leadership- and identified strengths and struggles of each person. When we got together as a team to discuss our individual assessments, it was uncanny how closely we each matched our results report.

But the most valuable part of the discussion came from people realizing how their style and tendencies are stressful or harsh to their co-workers. One person’s directness is another person’s confrontation. Energy gained from social interaction for an extroverted person is draining for a strong introvert. A fly by the seat of their pants person hates waiting for the careful, analytical planner.

The discussion I really enjoyed was when we would look at each other and say, “I bet I really drive you crazy when I do that!” How enlightening. You can’t fix things that you can’t talk about. If you constantly suppress the things that drive you nuts, they will feel worse.

We are all looking forward to our next meeting, when we will be discussing “This is what really drives me crazy” Yes, it may be a little “ouch” to hear some of the feedback, but real communication is healthy! We are all aware of how awful it would be to have a company filled with only one personality type. The diversity in our team makes us stronger and more skilled and smarter. So, bring on the hard topics and let’s celebrate how when we add us all together we have a better result.