Why business relationships go sour in a nano-second
In the world of business, nothing can be achieved without effective communication with your employees, colleagues, suppliers, and ultimately your customers.
When communication breaks down, the business becomes dysfunctional and in a nanosecond the business is at risk.
Why is that?
Communication gone bad
Have you ever worked with someone who just gets under your skin? Their communication style is such – they must always be right always (even when they are wrong). They seem to get great pleasure from criticizing you! Worse still, they do it in front of others which can be humiliating.
Imagine if they are your boss!
What about the person who fails to communicate at all? Most of the times they say nothing – you can’t tell what they are thinking. You just get the silent treatment. This is particularly harmful when information needs to be passed on. If pointed directly at you, it’s a form of passive aggression to ensure you fail.
Then of course there’s the know-it-all who has something to say about EVERTHING and won’t shut up. They dominate meetings, spend wasted time floating around the office gossiping and passing on incorrect information. You see them coming and duck for cover because they interfere with your work day.
You probably have a few stories of your own. Let’s examine why this happens.
Why business relationships break down
More than just communication, relationships in the workplace break down when your feelings are hurt. As a result, your thinking becomes defensive and you no longer want to connect with others. Working together becomes impossible, relationships go sour and this puts a strain on the business both internally and externally.
What happens is that your emotions, thinking and connectivity become dysfunctional.
When in conflict with others, you experience a mixture of emotions; contempt, fear, hatred, vulnerability and anger. You also feel attacked, judged and misunderstood. The brain floods with the stress hormone cortisol and puts you in a high state of alert. If someone tells you to “calm down” it is almost impossible to do so.
Your thinking becomes defensive and the common goals and objectives in the workplace are no longer important. Your thinking becomes distorted and irrational as you each become stuck in entrenched embattled positions. You see the other person as an enemy attacking you and all you can think about are their worst characteristics. You no longer are able to have a rational conversation.
The relationship begins to crumble.
You are no longer connected and want nothing more to do with the other person. You can’t listen to them anymore, you are no longer empathetic towards them and your communication, if at all, becomes strained and either overtly or covertly hostile.
When a relationship gets to this point it is very difficult to repair. Feelings are the key to whether conflict will escalate.
Imagine the impact this has on productivity, and even more important, the customer!
To understand how we get to his point, it’s worthwhile to look at the communication process.
How we communicate?
Professor Albert Mehrabian of the University of California concluded in his research that people communicate in three ways; the words we use, the tone of our voice and through our body language but not equally.
- Words alone (What we say) equals 8%
- Vocal tone (How we say it) 37%
- Body language (What we do) 55%
What this means is, if you say to a colleague or subordinate, “Can I help you” – but your body language and tone says something else, they may interpret the message as; “Go away you are wasting my time.”
Most people fail to understand that only 8% of the communication process comes down to the words you use. What most people pick up on, is your body language and tone of voice. In other words, it’s not so much as what you say, it’s more about how you say it that leads to a communication breakdown. In other words, its how a message is sent and how a message is received which causes the problem.
Let’s look at the communication process.
The communication process
The communication process involves multiple parts and stages from the source of a message, the message itself, the context in which the message is sent and received, how it is delivered, how it is received and what filters exists in between.
- The source of the message is the sender (example you)
- The message is the information the sender wishes to communicate (your thoughts)
- Encoding is the process of taking the message the sender wants to communicate into the format they will use to share the message with others (formulating how to send your message)
- The channel is the method the sender uses to convey their message (spoken words, email, live chat etc)
- Decoding happens when the other person receives the message that has been sent (the receiver of the message untangles the channel the message is sent)
- The receiver receives the message according to their view of the world (the receiver interprets the messages sent which will be filtered through their expectations, opinions, and other perspectives according to their experiences)
- The receiver then gives feedback back to the sender of the message (even a no-response is feedback)
Simplistically the basic elements in the communication process:
1. Sender – the person wanting to communicate a thought, idea or information.
2. Message – the idea or information to be communicated.
3. Receiver – the person or group to whom the message is directed.
4. Response – the information flowing back to the sender (via words, tone and body language), which provides feedback on how the message is being received.
The communication process consists of a person sending a message and a person receiving a message. The “Transmitter” sends the message at approximately 100 – 150 words per minute and the “Receiver” receives the message at approximately 500 – 600 words per minute.
In between, you experience a screen or filter based on the attitude you have, your experiences and your frame of reference. This can often distort the message between what is being sent and what is being received. It’s at this stage the communication process usually breaks down.
There are also ranges of communication choices, which can either facilitate or hinder the communication process. For example, if you rely purely on email to send a message, you are missing the body language and to a certain extent, tone of voice components of your communication skills. This is why so many emails are misinterpreted and misread which leads to a breakdown in business relationships.
It’s easy to see when you look at the communication process as to why relationships breakdown. It’s simply because both of you aren’t singing off the same song sheet! Simplistically, the message sent is often not the message received!
How to fix a breakdown in communication?
Acknowledge the other person point of view
By acknowledging your feelings and looking at the situation from the other person’s point of view takes discipline and a willingness to try to understand the situation.
- How are they feeling? (angry, frustrated, unhappy)
- What situation caused them to feel that way? (what happened?)
- Why are they reacting this way? (what matters to them?)
Once you begin to understand their perspective, you are then able to manage your own feelings about the potential conflict. By putting yourself in their shoes, it takes out the emotions you being to feel about the conflict and it gives you the opportunity to resolve potential conflicts before they escalate.
On a Final Note
Learn how the Strategez for Success Coaching Model helps you master a life of Success. With the help of a life coach, or business coach, you will easily fast track your way to a successful life with no barriers.
Learning to lead, learning to run a business is no easy task. It takes time and education to transform yourself into the leader you want to be. It all starts with learning how to hire and manage people. It is your communication and people skills that separate the wheat from the chaff.
To find out how you stack up as a leader. You never know what others see that you don’t see yourself. This kind of feedback is not always negative, perhaps you have great attributes and talents you weren’t even aware of.
Profit Acceleration Assessment
“I can find any business between $10k and $100k EXTRA revenue in just 45- minutes WITHOUT spending a cent on advertising or marketing GUARANTEED…”
Are you constantly struggling finding new leads?
Are you failing to convert prospects into paying customers?
Do you want to grow your revenue up to 50%?
Do you want to double your profits and scale up your business?
Do you want more time off and financial freedom?
If so – The Profit Acceleration Assessment will show you how to dominate your industry.