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  • Writer's pictureKevin B Ebert

No. 148 - Find Others Rosetta Stones To Improve Communication

About this #MyDay Post

I work with a lot of different leaders who are remote. As such, face-to-face conversations are not possible and you loose all non-verbal communication. This obviously presents many challenges, especially when you and the other leader are dependent upon for each other for your success. When sitting on a conference call, you can’t tell if the person understood what you just said or if they took offense to it because you can’t see their body language. You loose that ability to provide clarifying remarks or ask questions back to the person to make sure they understand. All those non-verbal queues that are so important to communicating are gone.

What I have learned over the years, in these scenarios, is that trying to “over communicate” is not the best approach to communication, rather it’s about improving the quality of the communication that counts. You can meet 5 days a week trying to communicate and come out of having no better understanding of a situation than what you can accomplish in a single meeting. It’s not uncommon to walk away from a meeting with remote leaders hearing of strange behaviors that are contrary to what you just discussed. So what is going on?

If you recall from the #MyDay post No. 144, you shouldn’t rush to judge a person’s character based on their behaviors, rather you have to look at the situation they are in that is driving that behavior. To put it plainly, since the other leader is remote and you can’t observe the situation they are in and you have no idea of the other factors influencing their behavior. Thus, it becomes vitally important to discover what motivates them and their decision making so you can find effective ways to communicate.

Hence the meaning of this post, to combat this glaringly obvious shortcoming of communicating with leaders remotely, I have learned that you first have to take the time to understand what drives the persons behavior. Are they driven by goals or are they driven by deadlines or are they driven by the challenge of solving a problem or some other thing.

And then look to what are the external influences that makes them say the things they do. What projects are they working on. What upcoming deliverables must they execute. How much time do they have to meet those objectives. And how do they communicate their needs. By looking at these different facets, you are able to develop an understanding of what makes the leader tick and then you will be able to learn what is important to them and gain an understanding of how they go about driving success.

With this understanding, you can start framing the conversations of your shared goals around what factors drive their success. The result will be quality communication and a convergence on the shared goals. Much in the same way; that until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone we had no understanding of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, by looking at other peoples motivators, you can understand their motivations and use it to build trust and mutual understanding.

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