Has anyone ever misinterpreted your email and been really upset with you? I’ve witnessed or experienced this at least three times in the last few days. First, information shared was intended to provide direct answers and demonstrate effort to a team who had questions, yet some thought it was written with a smug attitude. Then, an email that was intended to provide direct feedback to the team was perceived as “mean-spirited.” Third, some of the information shared via a report was assumed to mean something different than intended, and it caused some angst for a few people.
In each of the situations, the intention of the person communicating was positive, yet either something got lost in the translation of the message or the receiver read meaning that wasn’t intended into the message.
This happens on a regular basis for most of us – especially when we are communicating in writing. We can’t hear “tone”, or see a smile – and words can sting.
So how do we get around this? I’ve got some ideas for you:
Bottom-line, we often misinterpret the intentions of others and react in ways that deter healthy conversations and can damage relationships. Slow down, check in and for heaven’s sake – pick up the phone!
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and Forward, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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