Perhaps I should instead phrase that as a question? Let me try that again:
Do you take the effectiveness of your communication for granted?
People, by their very nature, are notoriously naïve when it comes to believing they have a good understanding and awareness of their communication style. Stake my word on it, there will be shared opinions on how you communicate which will differ vastly from how you see yourself. While you may see yourself as Martin Luther King Jr., others might not. There are good psychological reasons for this “above-average” effect. One is your in-built mental defence mechanism. Psychologists call this ‘self-serving bias’ which (amongst other similar biases) is the tendency to attribute any perceived criticisms to external factors (AKA, the “it’s them, not me” effect, or the “oh yeah, but that’s probably because of [insert extenuating circumstances here]” effect—both equally as common).
By far in large this unconscious bias plays a crucial part in your effective functioning and is fantastic at protecting and enhancing self-esteem. However, when it comes to the fundamental business skill of increasing self-awareness and improving your communication ability, the self-serving bias may act as a road block to success. It is these self-serving mechanisms which may be hurting your ability to communicate effectively with your team wider organisation. All is not lost, however, if you know your ABC’s.
The ABC model is a framework for addressing these concerns: what level of awareness do you have around being able to consciously choose your communication style. To what degree can you consciously choose and deliver a behaviour that will result in the best possible interpersonal outcome? Finally, how much awareness do you have around the consequences of your communicative actions? If you —like nearly everyone—are positive you are great on all of these, probability tells us that you have just fallen victim to one of our many self-serving biases. Not all great communicators are born naturals—active self-development plays a vital role in strengthening your ABC’s, and thus your communication ability.
If you are looking at an effective communication program, make sure that the following areas are addressed:
- Increase self-awareness of one’s own preferred communication style, communication strengths and biases;
- Develop an understanding of how one’s preferred communication style can impact on others;
- Develop an ability to consciously choose an appropriate communication style and behaviour in anticipation of desired outcomes;
- Learn to use communication as a tool to build co-operative alliances and maintain team performance in difficult situations;
- Enhance conflict resolution skills and learn win-win communication techniques.
Or if you would like further information on effective communication, or how such an initiative could be effectively implemented into your team please get in touch with one of our psychologists/consultants.