WHAT we say is almost never the problem but rather HOW we say it. I have been through this hundreds of times where conflict is created not just by the subject but mostly by the delivery. Words are absolutely important I agree, however, it’s largely our conviction and intention expressed through tone of voice, facial expression, and body language that gets the message across. If all of that doesn’t match our words we won’t be very believable, and could be seen as insincere or even dishonest.
HOW we say things usually comes from what we learned growing up. In an effort to be sincere many will default to “The Golden Rule – Treat others the way you’d like to be treated”. You’ve probably heard this most of your life. I’m here to say STOP THAT as soon as you can. The Golden rule can get you into tons of trouble. If you treat most people the way you’d like to be treated it can be a recipe for disaster because we all need something different.
Different is not wrong it’s just different!
I was with a business leader earlier today from a boisterous, loud family of challengers. When his wife was first introduced to this at a family dinner… she was HORRIFIED!! “Why does your family yell so much and confront one another. That seems so disrespectful” she said. This business leader asked “what do you mean, we were just talking”. I’ll bet you can guess some of the challenges they had in their marriage.
He raised his voice thinking they were just talking (his golden rule) and she withdrew thinking they were fighting (her golden rule).
Let’s try the Platinum Rule:
Treat others the way THEY would like to be treated.
Our leader friend above finally asked his wife HOW she’d like to be spoken to and she did the same to him. Things have been better now that they know and do their best to adapt to their spouses communication style using “The Platinum Rule”.
Give this a try. I think you’ll be delighted with the results both at home and at the office.