Staying on topic with our new series, “Amazing Business Tips from Small Business Owners“, this post was written by a client of mine who is a coach and facilitator. De Yarrison has several wonderful ideas on how to better communicate with others in your life. De works with people to positively enhance their lives.
Please help stop the complaining! It goes on all around us, all the time. Even the most compassionate of us don’t enjoy listening to complaints. There is a better way!
4 Ways to Improve Communication in Complaint-Free Workplaces
Here are 4 steps to keep in mind:
- When you hear a complaint, remember, behind the irritation is an unmet need or expectation. Often the person voicing the complaint does not own the conversational tools to express their need in a healthy or clear way.
- Reserve judgment & annoyance, which often lead us to respond with defensiveness or a counter-complaint.
- Instead, listen for the request that is beneath the complaint. Look for the need that this person has and is unable to clearly express.
- Respond to the person with a question to clarify his/her need and by helping him/her express the need clearly to you (and to himself as well). Here is a conversation example of what I am talking about.
- Joe: “I’m always the last to know.”
- You: Would you appreciate more communication from me?
- Joe: “Well, sometimes I feel left out of the loop.”
- You: What can I do to help you feel more in the loop?
Try these tips below to help you express yourself better.
5 steps to a better conversation
- Pay attention to when you are complaining, even if it’s silently to yourself.
- Write down your complaint. Writing down your feelings will help you expand what truly is going on.
- Look underneath the complaint to find the need you have that is not being met. Think through ways to express your need using clear, non-judgmental language.
- Start your sentence with “I have a request; I would like…” DO NOT start your sentence with “You need to…”
- Then, make your request to the other(s) involved. Pull them aside and talk with them in private. Making a scene will just accelerate the situation.
Below are examples of statements that express one’s needs clearly & in non-judgemental language. The brackets at the end of each statement include the complaints that have been replaced.
5 Non-judgement statements to a better conversation in complaint-free workplaces
- I am not clear on what’s been decided. I would appreciate it if we could walk through it more slowly. [He/she is so unclear about…; He/she is always so ambiguous and noncommittal.]
- It is important to me that we start our meetings at the agreed upon time. Would you be willing to work with me on that? [Our meetings never start on time.]
- I need another day to get this finished. [There’s no way I can possibly finish this by then.]
- I would like for us to have this conversation with less emotion/intensity. Will you help me find a way to do that? [He/she is so emotional; All we ever do is argue; I’m tired of arguing about this.]
- I’m not sure I see it the same way. Would you help me understand your thinking around this? [Nobody listens to my ideas; that’s a stupid way to do it; that will never work.]
As you can see there are many ways to minimize judgmental statements in the office. What is your favorite statement in this post? Do you have any tips on what you would do in these situations? Please leave a comment below.
Looking for even more tips on communication in complaint-free workplaces, check out these other experts below.
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