We all deal with issues on a daily basis. Sometimes we deal with happy issues, and sometimes we deal with difficult situations where emotions are high. Organizations, or the people that make up organizations have difficulty with emotions. Some think emotions don’t belong in a business setting, but emotions are what gives us the motivation and passion to move forward and solve problems, especially if they are channelled in the right way.
Personal needs must be met for effective communication to take place. This means acknowledging the emotions and feelings behind an issue. For example:
Let’s imagine that Sam comes to talk to his manager, Mary about his recent performance review. Sam isn’t very happy about his rating and is very upset. His emotions are evident, but Mary doesn’t acknowledge his feelings at all. She goes immediately into pointing out all the reasons he didn’t do well. How does Sam react? He certainly won’t feel like opening up and discussing anything in a calm manner with Mary. He might get angry, or he might stop communicating completely.
Why is meeting personal needs important?
Because meeting the personal needs of a person helps open the gateway to effective communication. Sam is much more likely to sit down and start talking if Mary uses active listening skills and simply said to him: “Sam, you seem upset. Let’s talk.” When his emotional needs are met, and he feels acknowledged and HEARD, Sam will disclose more information and be more receptive to anything Mary might have to say. Mary might also find out more information that she didn’t know. By acknowledging emotions, she is expressing empathy and trying to understand Sam in a non-judgemental way.
Next time you start a discussion with a employee, customer, or co-worker, who is coming to you with an issue try to name the emotion that might be expressed, and acknowledge it. Use your attending behaviours to show you are listening. Open the flood gates to effective communication. Meeting the emotional needs of a person, allows you to move on to problem solving. Some people will find it easy to notice and acknowledge the feelings and emotions behind an issue. But that isn’t all that is needed to solve problems and issues.
Next week, I’ll blog about meeting the practical needs of a person to ensure effective communication.