By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q. Don't men and women approach communication differently? Are you recommending techniques in your column that work for men better or women?
A. Women and men may be from different planets when we communicate. We also come from different tribes (families) with unique social rules. Many communication problems occur because we believe that, because we all speak English, we all must be speaking the same language.
In my column, I advocate using a third language that both is kind and gets what you want. Many people think the best way to benefit the planet is to be "unselfish." These martyrs tend to contribute mostly misery to their workplaces. Other folks believe that "winning through intimidation" is an effective tactic. These bullies contribute a different sort of misery.
This column asks readers to keep their eye on the ball at work by remembering what they originally wanted during their communications. This column also teaches readers that if you don't incorporate other people's agendas into your outcome, your success will be short lived.
Using communications tools that benefit both others and yourself means you don't say the naked truth; you say what will be effective and kind in your situation. You chose words and behavior based on what you want to happen - not on what will immediately make you feel popular. You're willing to trade off being right, looking perfect and being admired in the short run to be remarkably effective in the long run.
In many ways the world of work is set up to be "manspeak," and the world of home is set up to be "womanspeak." Just teaching skills that help men and women translate each other doesn't get at the problem of needing a common language. Ask any househusband or female executive.
Anyone who works for a living can tell you our lack of a common language in the workplace undercuts the productivity, harmony and creativity we could otherwise achieve at work.
If you can learn to combine the selfishness of your personal agendas with outcomes that allow others around you to win, your success at work will be both long lived and personally rewarding.
The last word(s)
Q. I am constantly annoyed at many of my coworkers and customers. People tell me it could be worse. How?
A. You could be numb. At least you're aware of what you want.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). Contact her at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This was printed in the May 6, 2012 - May 19, 2012 Edition