Every single thing you say and do has an impact on other people, even more so if you’re in a leadership or management role.
Sometimes we think only about our impact on others, completely disregarding our own needs. Whilst this might seem ‘un-selfish’ or conciliatory, if this is our only way of behaving, it’s ultimately not healthy or conducive to being our best.
At the other end of the scale are the times when we completely disregard the impact of what we say and do on others. We get so caught up in achieving our goals and meeting our own needs, that we fail to notice, or worse notice but ignore, the impact we’re having on those around us.
I think if we want to be the best we can be, as individuals, as organisations and as communities, we need to get better at understanding the impact we’re having on others, and then learning how to moderate our behaviour for the benefit of all.
Be observant – notice how people around you are reacting to what you say and do. What does their body language or tone of voice tell you? What emotion are they expressing in their voice, face, words and actions? Are they spending less time around you? What are they actually saying, what are they not saying? If you’re not used to picking up on other people’s reactions, spend a day pretending you’re conducting a scientific experiment – you’re the investigator and your job is to gather evidence that indicates how people might be perceiving you.
If you’re just not very observant, or can’t figure out what people’s reactions mean, ask! Get people to give you feedback about how what you said or did impacted on them. The very act of asking shows that you are interested in building the relationship, and gives others the opportunity to say what they’re thinking or how they’re feeling rather than letting things simmer away under the surface.
Be prepared to take on board the feedback you get. If someone tells you they’re upset because of something you did, it’s easy to be defensive and justify your behaviour, or dismissive of their concerns. But this has a three-fold negative impact.You miss an opportunity: to learn more about yourself; to improve an aspect of your behaviour that might be holding you or others back; and to build on your relationship with the other person. If someone has the courage to give you feedback, and they do so with sensitivity, respect and honourable intentions, be willing to listen and acknowledge their perspective, and to contemplate what you might say or do differently in the future.
Dealing with workplace or personal relationship issues is never easy, but silence (avoidance) or violence (physical or verbal), never solves the problem. If you’re finding a relationship hard going, personal coaching can help you get it back on track. If your team is losing productivity and engagement because of poor communication or relationships, a facilitated workshop can help establish better ways of relating to maximise team harmony, well-being and performance. Email me for a confidential discussion about your current challenges.