Open Interactive Communication – Part One

How to be part of the team and not part of the problem

There are certain rules to all systems, and as with all systems there is always one problem, it is that humans are involved.  Yes, human nature is one of those constants that put monkey wrenches in just about anything it touches.  However there is a solution and it is being aware that you are human and that you are prone to mistakes.

There are certain things you can do that go against your nature and all of us know our nature is self centered.  We must learn that when we are other centered, we will also benefit ourselves.

Like I said the natural man is self centered.  He tends to build his world and relations around himself and not the other way around.  Self centered inclines a person to be selfish, ego driven and self preserving. When ever a self centered person feels threatened, even when there is no threat, he will resort to do and say things that he thinks will benefit himself.  Now ladies you can put herself in place of the himselfs in the last statements.  But  I want you to know your very nature is the problem.  This nature is inborn and perpetuated by others with this nature and well you see it is hard to overcome.  If you are willing to do some things to overcome your nature then you will begin to see progress in being part of the solution in whatever avenue of life you pursue.

What must I do to change?

Well first learn that change is not natural.  So you will always need help and that means you must become aware of the natural ways that are self serving and turn them around to ways that are other centered.  If you need someone to be accountable to then ask someone for their help.

One day I was passing between cubicles at in a large office and I overheard a conversation.  “Oh, so and so isn’t going to make it here.” “they just don’t have what it takes.”  As I though about what they said I thought, why don’t they go to that person and help them to make it instead of tearing them down in the eyes of each other.  These people are supposed to be a team but the only teamwork they seemed to have is in them tearing each other down with backbiting and gossip.  This is not easy to change but when people recognize their nature is wrong then they can begin to change it.

There are two types of communication Positive communication and Negative communication.  Both are good and can be effective if they are used correctly.  The natural negative communication is done freely but not necessarily openly. By that I mean it is between two or three only and supposed to be in secret.  We must learn not to make negative communications with people about others, not only is it not healthy for them but for you as well.  People who gossip and backbite are very stressful people and often they hurt their own health by this activity.

We must learn to go to people and present the negative in a positive and constructive manner.  Negative communication that involves backbiting and gossip is non-constructive communication.  Negative communication that involves going to the person and presenting that you see there is a problem and telling them you are there to help is constructive communication.

So the first area one must over come is the temptation to gossip and make negative comments to others about another person.  There are a myriad of other things you can have conversations about rather than gossip and backbiting.  But your self centered human nature gets a boost out of putting others down, and when you put a team mate down you are putting down the whole team.

May I make a suggestion, if you have this problem of gossiping and backbiting try this.  Each morning look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I don’t want anyone to gossip or backbite me so I will not allow myself to gossip or backbite others”.  Follow this stern self-changing affirmation with the promise you will make a positive comment to each person you come in contact with each day.  Don’t come across as phony or ingenuous, be as real and honest about what you say.  One thing about people is they can tell if you are phony.  Don’t worry if at the moment you can make a positive comment, maybe a little later when you see them again something will come to mind and then you can say it.  Everyone has something good that your could point out that your notice.  This takes great effort but you will soon find you will make great friends and deeper relationships by following this course of action in your daily routine.

Remember people are just like you, self centered and they would love to hear a positive things about themselves from others.  In doing this you build there self confidence and they will want to listen more to what you have to say.  That is good as it helps you to become other centered and them to be better listeners.

What can we do if not everyone is pulling their weight on the team?

Let look at a scenario, a new recruit is not able to finish all the work that has been assigned them during their shift and the following shift must take up the extra work because of it.  The natural thing people will start to do is complain, belittle and gossip about the new recruit.  If you hear this kind of communication start to take place the best thing to do is confront them.  Confront the one doing is and let them know that no amount of complaining, belittling or gossip will solve the problem but will only make things worse.  Encourage them to find out what the problem is and help the new recruit because open communication is what teamwork is all about.  Then give them an example on how to approach the person as not to hurt but show their true concern.

You could suggest they say something like this: “I notice that your were having a difficult time with your work assignment today.  Is there anything I could help you with in understanding your assignment better, so you don’t struggle so hard and you can complete your duties?”   Then stop there and listen. Deep down people want to be better at what they do and they want to know others are in their corner to help them improve.

Also, be real attentive to their words in other words listen very carefully to what they say. Often more problems can be solved by listening rather than speaking.  Once they express what the difficulty is, you will discover you may or may not have a solution.  If you do have a solution, suggest it gently in love and reassure them that you are there for them at anytime.  If you don’t have a solution, assure them that you are there for them and together the both of you can figure something out in the next few days that will help them better complete their duties.   Oh yeah, don’t forget about it and go away, really take some time to think it through and get back to them with a suggestion.  Sometimes you will discover they already worked it out and the answer they came up with will also benefit you in your duties.  That is teamwork.

You will notice that clear open and honest communication is needed in teamwork. Communication is both ways and it includes listening.  You are not to listen for self centered reasons either.  You are to listen because they are important enough to be on the team.  Remember that they were hired to be part of the team and though you may have preferred someone else they are the one who is there and you must help make them an effective part of the team so you all benefit.

It is open honest communication that is the key and no one should be afraid to speak up and communicate no matter how difficult the situation is, especially if something is going to cause a problem that will affect the whole team.

Open communication develops a team that is like a body and they begin to work and move and think together providing a more productive atmosphere for all involved.  When you do this you become an Collegial Interactive Team.


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