There is a big challenge many companies in every industry face. It often goes unnoticed, undiagnosed and untreated. Emotional Toxicity can infiltrate your organization's communication climate and stop excellence dead in its tracks.
Instead of steadily marching toward better sales, improved customer satisfaction, and exciting new products - your teams will be mired in lackluster performance, internal squabbles, and a general lack of motivation and creativity.
It's the setback all business leaders try to avoid. Let's look at what causes Emotional Toxicity in your communication climate. Once you understand the causes and symptoms of this organizational epidemic, you will immediately recognize it when toxicity happens in your office.
Talking Without Communicating
Most of the time when two or more people are having a discussion, we don't really communicate. We just take turns talking. The most important part of the interaction is what the participants think when they walk away.
One person says his piece. The other person nods and says her piece. But neither could really tell you much about the other's ideas, aspirations or fears.
They may not have understood each other's points. Missed cues along the way. Miscommunication happens all the time. The other person doesn't hear what you said or misunderstands your meaning. Participants walk away with a different understanding. Collateral damage occurs.
You Didn't Say What I Thought You Said
Recently I was standing in line at a Starbucks in Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The guy in front of me had just ordered at the counter when the clerk told him $10.59. He looked puzzled and replied, "But I gave you 10 dollars."
He apparently didn't understand what she said. Like a broken record, she kept repeating $10.59 over and over. The man still didn't get it and clerk was starting to get frustrated. (Raising her voice, rolling her eyes, taking it personally…)
Finally, I established eye contact and said, "I understand you gave her $10 dollars and it seems it's a little more than that. The price is now $10.59. Do you want to pay with change or cash or card?"
His eyes lit up as he grasped my arm. The man exclaimed "Oh now I understand. I thought she was saying something else."
All it took for positive, successful communication was acknowledging where the man was coming from. It simply required an empathetic moment to understand and be of service to someone without judgment, aggressiveness, eye rolling, or huffing and puffing.
Making Better Communication a Core Value
I strongly suggest every company pay close attention to creating a Communication Climate that Evokes Excellence in Others.
This needs to be taught right from the start when you are interviewing people and during the on boarding process. Managers, leaders, and high potential folks must understand the impact of creating a supportive communication climate that allows excellence to emerge.
Your team will know how to put out emotional fires and avoid the toxic communication that dramatically limits success.
Toxicity Deserves Rapid Mitigation
Companies often define missions with KPIs and corrections with PIPs, and the rest. But not many focus on the Communication Climate that can so vitally be important.
Imagine if the HVAC system in your office was pumping toxic air everywhere. You would evacuate the building immediately.
We sanitize our hands before meetings. Maybe we should sanitize our mindsets and conversations before they start.
* Speak clearly. Say your message in a couple of different ways. Look to see if others are understanding you.
* Avoid punishing others with anger, attitude, or negative cues. This can shut down creativity and motivation and connection.
* Try, to always be empathetic, understanding, and supportive. This gives team members permission to achieve excellence.
Improved communication is one of the most important things you can do to create a healthy environment and reach goals in every area. It's essential to nipping emotional fires in the bud and getting things done.
Carlos Raposo works with companies of all sizes, from new trainees to C-level executives, to help them achieve better leadership, change more effectively, stage effective turnarounds, improve their workplace communication climate for happier, energized, more effective employees, and supercharge their overall forces of success. (c)2021 carlosraposocoaching.com. All rights Reserved.