I work with relational dynamics. Through the years I have noticed that no matter where I am, communication is one thing people want to address. Good communication, it is a problem as old as time. More than 2,300 years ago Aristotle dealt with this very issue, and his wisdom still rings true today. Aristotle believed that there were three elements of good communication: credibility, logic, and emotional connection.
Great organizations and great relationships depend on great communication. In my work with organizations and couples, I am never surprised when the topic of communication comes up. It is always something people wish was done better by their work boss or partner. Why? Because everyone desires better communication. Does this sound familiar to you?
As a Birkman consultant I have a unique understanding on the relational dynamics involving communication. In communication, I am able to decipher: how one person desires to communicate to others and how they wish to be communicated to them. Communication is much more complex than the average person believes. And that is why communication is an element that can always be improved. Lucky for us, there are some simple "rules" we can follow to create an environment of great communication at work or at home.
First, you have to establish credibility. Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, credibility goes a long way. When the recipient can truly believe what you say, a lot of stress and conflict will simply dissipate. We have all heard of organizations that give lip service to a mission statement about its culture that was the far from the truth. Right? Those organizations suffer from a credibility issue. It's no wonder why the employees there are typically unhappy. They don't trust the organization and their superiors.
Another example might be at home. If I tell my wife that I will take out the trash and then don't do it, I lose credibility with her. The next time I say I will do something, she will not believe me. Credibility takes time. It will ease conflict and establish trust, both of which are paramount for good communication.
Second, you have to be logical. A quick warning, assembling facts and laying out a clear vision are not one and the same. However a good communicator does both with firm logic. They gather facts, lay out simple to understand plans, and make it easy for people to unify around the vision. But it starts by appealing with people’s common sense, using facts and logic.
The final piece to good communication is that you have to make an honest emotional connection. I had no idea when I got married how true this statement would become. To some extent, I grew up believing emotions were “uncontrollable” and “bad.” When I got married, I carried that ethos into our marriage, except my wife did not have the same Family of Origin story. We experienced a lot of chronic conflict until I was able to overcome my fear of emotional connection. Once I did, our conflict subsided and we were able to communicate in ways that was deep, genuine, and mutual.
In the workplace, making an emotional connection is more simple: give people your undivided attention, be concerned about their career development, and be excited about their work that achieves desired outcomes. Far too often we rely on our position when we communicate. Instead, leverage the emotional connection aspect of communication. Studies have shown a leader’s ability to establish an emotional connection with their followers is the greatest indicator of effective communication. Simply put, when people believe you care for their well-being, their receptivity to your communication increases.
Aristotle's wisdom and insight into communication still rings true today 2,300 years later. How are you using these classic elements in your workplace or home to establish a foundation of good communication?