Direct statements

Why using a shared language leads to better working relationships

April 5, 2019

Listen to this (3½  minutes)

 

We all have things we wish we could come right out and say, but often don’t for our own reasons. We may want to preserve a relationship, not hurt someone’s feelings, or reveal what we truly think. We beat around the bush hoping that they might pick up what we’re trying to say. Usually, this strategy does not work.

The problem is that we want to communicate something but we have fear or uncertainty in our head or heart. We feel a sense of pause and we don’t say what we wish we could. So we either say nothing at all, aka silence, or say a bunch of stuff to lighten the blow.

Adopting a shared language

One of the tools that can help us grow as leaders and with our teams is adopting a shared language. What’s cool about working with a small group is that you can set rules for that specific set of people. While you can’t control everything in your life, organization, or larger structure, you can control your direct circle of influence. An easy way to do that is to develop a shared language that your group understands and can use when needed.

No one is going to assign you the task to “develop a shared language.” This is something that you must take ownership of and make happen the next time you gather. It’s kind of like a more serious version of an inside joke. Your group gets what you’re saying, but if you weren’t a part of that group, you might be a little confused. Of course, as your group grows, it’s important to share the shared language, just like a nice friend will explain the inside joke to you.

Shared language solutions

Brene Brown has a phrase in Dare to Lead that goes like this: “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” This is kind of a mantra or anthem to say that unclarity is not going to be tolerated. By beating around the bush, you may think you are being kind, when in reality, your lack of clarity is damaging the group. Better to be clear about what you think than bury your true thoughts deep down inside you.

Henry Cloud in Boundaries for Leaders notes that a Fortune 500 business uses the phrase “just give me the 10%.” This is a way of saying, “can you please skip the BS?” In a situation where someone is obviously hedging around an issue, you can give them the freedom to be clear and kind by asking them to give you the 10%, or what is really on their mind.

The David Allen Company used to say “Silence means we are OK with what’s going on.” Silence can be a terrible thing to deal with in leadership and in relationships. But who said silence has to be miserable? Declaring that everyone is going to agree on what silence means helps everyone. This comes with an implicit expectation that people WILL speak up if they have an issue. Otherwise, the silence communicates approval and support. The trick is to practice this and to ask people to speak up, otherwise, their silence communities they are OK with what’s happening.

Recent blog posts

Resistance to a next action

Sometimes we experience resistance when we look at our options for work (next actions). The next action item on the to do list

You don’t need a new computer

You think you need a new computer. You don’t. The work you’ve been called to do can be accomplished with everything you already

Distraction-Free iPhone

Learn how to customize your iPhone or smartphone to avoid distraction and endless scrolling.

A look at the Time Timer

3 minute video on how to visually see time pass. This method is used by CEOs and high-performance teams.

Intro to Pocket Notebooks

The world of notebooks is full of endless possibilities, but today, we will take a look at the trusty and practical pocket notebook.

Best Mac Apps – May 2020

I love the Mac and great apps. While researching and testing them can become a distraction, finding the best tools on the market

Before-we-start agreements

It can be so easy to jump in to a task, a job, or project. However, this can create issues. Have you ever

Direct statements

Listen to this (3½  minutes)   We all have things we wish we could come right out and say, but often don’t for

There will always be opposition

  Have you ever encountered someone who doesn’t agree with your point of view or see things the same way you do? I’m

Decide to focus

  • You must make a choice to focus your attention on something specific.
  • If you don’t choose to focus, someone else will — or you will be driven by the what’s current and catastrophes.
  • The best leaders and thinkers are disciplined about focusing daily.

Influence and impact

One thing you can keep in mind each day is that you have influence and impact as an individual person. It can be common to

Asking “how might we” questions

A powerful tool to help your leadership is to ask great questions. Yes, there is such a thing as a bad question. In school, teachers

Dealing with Resistance

Anytime we do important work, we WILL face Resistance.  It is pretty much a guarantee.  People won’t like what we’re doing. They may even

Are you on the list?

I send periodic email updates for high-achievers who want to grow.