Misunderstandings, effective communication, and self-reflectionAugust 22, 2022 - 535 words - 3 mins Found a typo? Edit me
One of the most complicated challenges for everyone is avoiding misunderstandings and being aware that other people don’t think the same way as you do.
People have different experiences and backgrounds, and we all have different perceptions of reality. This is the first thing we need to be aware of if we want to create self-awareness of our role in communication with others or empathy.
Very often, the real issue behind friction in a team is due to miscommunication. Sometimes no one knows how or why two or more team members don’t like each other anymore, but the conflict is obvious.
This can be a problem because it prevents the team from working as effectively as possible. Often, the reason for that friction is because of their inability to understand each other’s motivation and problems.
And this misfunction often leads to misunderstandings.
Our understanding of a conversation might differ from what the other person perceives, which could (and often will) cause a problem. This can become a serious problem related to the relationship’s direction between both parties.
How to solve this?
Avoiding misunderstandings is not always easy, but by improving your communication skills, you can get better at this step by step.
Empathy is the ability to understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position.
In most cases, the solution does not start by fixing the other person. Instead, it helps to work on making yourself more explicit. For example:
- Work on clarifying the expectations around the common goal
- Create an open and honest conversation about your expectations
- Assumptions are dangerous
- Provide as much context as needed
- Even if it seems evident to you at first instance
- Every little detail counts
- More information is always better than less
While aiming for effective communication, we need to reduce the risk of misunderstandings to the minimum.
Healthy conflicts are expected and acceptable. We shouldn’t be afraid of disagreements. It’s ok to change our minds when discovering new possibilities; the sooner, the better.
In my experience, understanding people is complicated for multiple reasons, but most especially because of misunderstandings we generate due to missing context, more than disagreements.
If something doesn’t work as expected, start looking at yourself, not blaming others when dealing with people. What could you have said to create more clarity? What would you do differently?
Self-reflection is essential to improve and correct your attitude, adapting to the evolution of the constant change we are surrounded by, especially when dealing with people.
Look over your reach area, share your thoughts, and don’t be ashamed of your mistakes as far as you take them as learning opportunities.