Life Lessons For Leaders – Caring Communications
We have developed communications systems to permit man on earth to talk with man on the moon. Yet mother often cannot talk with daughter, father to son, black to white, labor with management or democracy with communism. ~ Hadley Read
I would add several more paradoxical situations to this quote, straight to gay, republican to democrat, or left to right. But those issues are not what I want to talk about today.
Today, I would like to talk about communication. Communication is an art. It is saying what we feel and mean. It is saying it clearly, so it cannot be misunderstood. It is listening to what the other person has to say, and making sure we are hearing it accurately. If I had to pick the most important skill in developing relationships, this would be it. When done well, relationships blossom and we work together in trust and common purpose. When done poorly, relationships whither and die, or turn to something other than the caring relationships we all want in our lives.
The world is full of talk – and feelings. And, while many in recent times are focusing on the hate talk, I would like to focus on the hope talk – the talk of compassion, inclusivity and commitment. The talk that speaks of character, and yes, you knew I would say it, love. I know that many of you are rolling your eyes; here she goes again. So, let’s change the word to “care”. Hopefully that will be easier for you to deal with. With a bit of luck, you won’t be so embarrassed to express how much you care for a person, or find it threatening to communicate those feelings.
I’m going to re-phrase some questions once posed by Eric Berne in his work on transactional analysis. They are simple questions, but difficult to answer.
- How do you say “I care about you”, and why is it so difficult to say such a affirmative statement?
- How do you say “I care about you” back without anxiety or fear?
- How do we keep the communication grounded in caring thoughts flowing?
- And, what is everybody doing instead of saying “I care about you”?
For those aspiring to be great leaders, caring about your family, your co-workers, your customers, your company, your culture, and your society is probably the most important character trait you need to pay attention to. When you slip from your ability to be compassionate, inclusive and committed you quickly lose your way. Even more important is your ability to show them you care by your behavior, and the actions you take.
Over the next few days, I will be exploring these four questions. I hope you join me on the journey. It could be an adventure of discovery.
Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.