If you are in a leadership position, trying to effectively lead a team of people, or simply trying to “win your day,” you simply can’t afford to have misunderstandings cluttering things up. Imagine what would happen if those in leadership roles in the military didn’t communicate effectively. Such chaos that could literally get people injured or killed.
Most of our day to day situations are not quite as life or death, but we should look to the military-style of crisp, direct, focused clarity for inspiration on how we should approach our day to day communications. It’s all about practicing being persistently clear.
When it comes to successful daily living, nothing is more essential than what I call the art of clear communication. We must be persistently clear in everything we communicate so there is no chance that anyone can misunderstand exactly what we are communicating.
When we are not clear and direct, we leave the other person confused, trying to figure out exactly what we are trying to say. They could take our words completely wrong. If you’re trying to communicate like a boss or co-worker that something’s not going to work this way or not as they expect, whatever you try to get across can be interpreted the wrong way, even the opposite of what you intended.
We owe it to those we are leading and our children to practice that so that there is no way to misinterpret what we say. If we do that effectively, then everyone is always on the same page. There’s no retreating, or questioning, “Oh I thought you meant this or that…” When we don’t practice being persistently clear, we leave ourselves open to the other person or people’s interpretation of what we are trying to say, and we won’t get the result we intended to achieve. If you’re trying to lead a company and in every meeting you have, the heads of all of your departments have no clear idea what you want them to do, they will lead others down a rabbit hole – and ultimately, all that frustration will come back to you.
When you’re not being clear, you’re disrespecting the other person who deserves to hear a more focused message from you. It’s a bit narcissistic if we worry that by saying something clearly, we might lose our image as the grand old, nice friendly boss everyone thought you were. You’re not doing anyone any favors by using word salads and deflection to avoid the harder truths of what you have to say.
This practice of being persistently clear doesn’t give you a license to be rude or a brat, but it means being a leader and assuming the responsibility that goes with your role as head of a team, a company or the household. If you struggle with that because of insecurity and the fear of people not liking you, understand that as a leader you will ultimately earn more respect if everyone knows you mean what you say and say what you mean. Sometimes, you have to be okay with people not liking a decision you have to make. Not liking a difficult decision you have to make is not the same thing as not liking you as a person. Sometimes they go hand in hand.
The practice of being persistently clear is about giving you the best opportunity to be winning your day. It’s difficult when you have to reprimand an employee or your child, or fire someone, definitely. But being clear is the best way to ensure that they cannot misinterpret your intention. If you have developed a pattern of being persistently clear with that person, they will know when you talk to them about the harder issues exactly what you mean.
There is a time for everything. Realize that life and business are not always peaches and cream. There are those times when you have to fire someone, or write someone up, express your disappointment, discipline your children or talk to your significant other about expectations not being met.
So stop doing the emotional dances when you’re scared to fire your friend. When you do that, you only cause confusion and cause more problems in the other person’s life. Life’s not all rainbows and fairies, but you will be healthier, more peaceful and in control and successful overall if you set your intention to practice being persistently clear.