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Interpersonal communication is a dynamic and related process between to communicators. It is a communication that occurs between people who have known each other for some specific time. Most important, these people view each other as unique individuals and not simply as people who are acting out social situations. One cannot run away from communication. Communication is a serious matter in that, when one communicates it is irreversible. The management is the pillar that holds an organization and if they want their interaction and conversation not to turn sour, unproductive or hurtful, they should think differently, Make Shifts, and understand the Structure found in all difficult conversations.
If management understands these aspects, it will significantly determine how well they handle conversations. Firstly, there are three distinct conversations that go on; what happened; focused on facts, blame and intentions. Emotions: focused on how each party feels, often unspoken. Identity: focused on how the conflict affects the way each side sees itself, often unspoken. Management in this firm should be willing to separate the impact of the other person’s words or actions from its own judgments about their intentions. Management need to have a different thinking help in shifting from a message delivery stance to a learning stance. All difficult conversations usually share a common structure. For the structure to be visible, we need to understand what was and, what was not said. Management has to understand what the personnel thinks and feels. What makes a conversation difficult usually lies in the gap between what you are really thinking and what you are saying. In each of the conversations, we make predictable errors that distort our thoughts and feelings are the one which gets us in trouble
Consequently, there are difficult conversation that I have been a part of in the past which, initially did not go as well as I would have liked. How I apply some important concepts (more than one) to understand how this conversation could have gone better. My insights and learning from this experience. When tackling difficult situation it should be known that conversations are almost never about getting the facts right. They are about perceptions that conflict with one another, interpretations and values. They are not necessarily about what is true but about what is important. I myself faced conflict among staff members and, had to address them about this; management staffs were frequently quarrelling with junior staff on their mode of dressing. The junior staff believed it was their right to dress the way they wanted. The board happened to hear this from the executive directors and some management staff. I knew that the board may need to get involved either to mediate or arbitrate and I knew something needed to be done and fast because the board had started complaining to me. I had to face this conflict head on because I was under the docket that was touched.
I had to involve an external facilitator who has the respect of everyone to facilitate the process. I had to arrange a special meeting where all members of the staff were involved. The process was transparent, the whole board and the staff knew that a conflict resolution process had been undertaken, steps were indicated and who was involved and that the outcome would be reported to them. Everyone had to understand that the outcome had to be followed by all. Thus the meeting was held and by the help of external facilitator it was agreed that everyone should dress professional, organizational ethics and code of conduct was to be followed by everyone. Every staff whether in the management or not should address his fellow with respect failure of which will lead to suspension. This is because there junior staff felt that their feelings were attacked when the management staff could talk to them anyhow about their mode of dressing.
From this conflict I learned that difficult conversations do not just involve feelings but, they are at their very core about feelings. One should be ready to listen to understand what has happened from the other person’s point of view. A person should be given time to explain his point of view, share and understand their feelings, and work together to figure out a better way to manage the problem and prevent it from going forward.
I also understood that there is only one way to understand the other person’s story, and that is by being curious. Instead of thinking that they are foolish in thinking what they think and doing what they do one should try to understand why. Good listening is of importance and it requires an open and honest curiosity about the other person, and a willingness to concentrate on what they are saying. I learned that our listening ability often increases remarkably once we have expressed our own strong feelings.
Behavioral approaches that I suggest the members of the firm follow that, would help the firm become better at interpersonal relations and in dealing with difficult conversations and the description of how each of these approaches would take an ineffective experience that the firm is having and turn it into an effective one. Everyone has had a difficult conversation in life. There are some approach’s that should be followed for a firm to become better at interpersonal relation and in dealing with difficult conversation. Talking about the facts frequently is very important in the organization as it creates the assumption we know the truth, we know another’s intentions, and we can assess blame. Facts that are disputed mostly make conversations difficult. Conflicting perceptions, interpretations and values are the source of the problem. Difficult conversations mainly are about feelings. Thus conflict usually touches identity: who am I and who are we together? Fears and anxiety associated with these answers may cause to be unstable, which affects constructive conversation.
In an organization one should avoid persuading or coercing, on should seek to understand the other’s viewpoint, this will foster openness. Arguing about Who’s Right should be stopped. Arguing usually fails when we think that the other person is causing the problem leading to blame. Each person’s argument makes sense, in his own viewpoint. Never assume that the member meant to do what they did. Intent should be separated from the impact. Assumption that one knows the other’s intention is wrong. Mostly we assume intention from negative impact on us. Members should clarify for themselves what happened, its impact on them, and their hypothesis on the other persons intention. Member should ask about others intentions before coming to conclusion. Members should explain their intention and other possible intentions that might explain what they did.
Abandon Blame: Blame reduces the chances of a person who has done wrong changing. Blame is usually costly and makes people less forthcoming. They may even be resistant to needed change. In many times people contribute to a problem by avoidance, being unapproachable and dysfunctional roles we play. Members should admit their contribution in conversation and also encourage the other to find their contributions.
Larry, the Vice President for Operations of the firm would stay on because he is a key player at the firm. How i will conduct this conversation so that it will be successful. What concepts will be guiding me in this conversation and how will you apply them? How will you prepare for this meeting? It is known that, no amount of written policy statements can replace attention to good communications practices. Larry will not be a problem for he will be helped adequately in buying the new norms. I will devote some time for his orientation on the new practices that would be installed. I would clarify roles and responsibilities that his department should embrace to create uniformity in the organization.
Mr. Larry would be issued with materials containing new job description outlining various duties. His new role would be clarified and objectives that are required of him. I have realized that every person needs to be heard and listening well will help others listen to me. I will give a listening ear to Mr. Larry on his view so that he can also listen to me. I will try to reframe unhelpful expression. I would reframe truth statements as different stories. I would validate his view, and explain the importance of your own in the company. If somehow the conversation gets stuck, I would listen to him.
I would try to suggest a fair test to divergent assumptions and if his opinions are different I would tell him why I remain unpersuaded. We would do joint brainstorming about my ideas. If no agreement emerges, I would be clear about the choices I am making and that I am willing to accept the consequences of my decisions. A series of conversation with him would be help until we come to an agreement. I would prepare well for my conversation with Mr. Larry. I would begin with my objectives viewpoint, and then explore his view and stories. I would also brainstorm different solutions and also keep our communication open.