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Is that really what you meant?

 Every time you do an employee survey, what is the #1 area for improvement that arises?

 Communication, of course!

 And when we are confronted with a problem relationship in a workplace, what do you think is more often than not the problem?

 You got it – communication as in the messages that people give each other and how they are interpreted or, perhaps put more accurately, how they are misinterpreted.

 In our consulting work, we use a methodology called “Respectful Relationship Agreements” to explore work relationships, what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvements.

 Where there are problems in relationships between people, we discover more often than not that the problems lie in the way that messages are given and received rather than in the messages themselves.

 By asking “what did you mean by that?”, we get understanding of what the true intention was and often that is different to what the recipient of the message thought it was or what the deliverer was really wanting to say (or would have said if they had their time again).

 We might also discover that there were other factors that arose that influenced the way the dialogue occurred and that understanding can provide context that makes a difference to perception.

 Then there might also be the reality that a person did act inappropriately and that can present a couple of scenarios:

  • If they did not realise how their behaviour impacted on the other person and they learn from that, an apology and a commitment to act differently in future might be all that is needed or
  • If they did it deliberately and are not considerate of how their behaviour impacted on the other person, they are unfortunately self selecting disciplinary action for themselves (and the process that you have worked through supports that action). 

 So next time you are confronted with a relationship issue of this sort, take the time to ask the question: “Is that really what you meant when you said that?”

 If you need a hand with the conversation, give us a call – this is just another way that we are “Helping PEOPLE in BUSINESS” with PEOPLE BUSINESS.


Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488