What is true for Marta is not true for Lisa, and that is usually the case when the focus of our conversation is on who is right and who is wrong. What really matters is this: Is this type of communication producing a positive result for either one of these two women? If the answer is “no” then it behooves them to find a different approach, regardless of who is “right.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
This situation can be easily resolved if Marta and Lisa sit down and discuss what constitutes “frequently,” “constantly,” and “once in a while” for each one of them. Say that Marta considers being interrupted three times a day as “frequent” and anything over three times a day “constant,” and Lisa thought that only five interruptions a day would be considered “frequent” and anything over that as “constant.” Do you see how their differing standards (of which most of the times we are not aware) get in the way of producing positive results?
Once they sit down and clarify what each one of them means by these words, they can agree on new actions that help both of them achieve their goals: Lisa gets her answers, and Marta feels that she’s maintaining her relationship with a valued employee. They can now agree on a new course of action: Lisa will accumulate questions and come into her boss’ office twice a day to get her answers and Marta will stop work at specific times during the day to focus her attention on her assistant.
Think about how many of these situations you experience in your life daily and ask yourself if there are certain “behind the scenes” standards about which you and the other person need to talk. What is “late” for you and what is “late” for your boss? What is “a clean room” for you and what is “a clean room” for your teenage child? What is “too much” work, talk, food, travel, for you and for your partner?
The moment we start exploring these standards for ourselves and the people we interact with, a new realm of possibilities open up. I encourage you to use this approach with at least one person and see what happens.
This article was originally published in Mamiverse.