Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rant: My Five Communication Hot Buttons

My work entails a number of diverse responsibilities:

Oversight of multiple departments.
Partnership with corporate initiatives.
Hospital wide, regional and national presentations.

How do I spend the bulk of my time?  

Cleaning up messes of poor communication.  

Now, I kind of get off on this, as it adds spice to my work and taps into my experience as a therapist. 

But, honestly, I am Up To Here with the following:

1.  Absolute Lack of Self-Awareness

Personalities mirror each other and then conflict.  This is so predictable, it's almost funny if it wasn't so annoying. 

Whenever I hire a strong person who is smart, opinionated and verbal, I can count down from ten before the other smart, opinionated and verbal members of my team have a problem with this person.  

With no awareness whatsoever that they are alike. 

2.  You're Not a Child and I'm Not Your Mother

It doesn't matter how old people get, they still tattle on each other. Like I'm going to march right over to that person, wag my finger in their face and say they better stop doing whatever it is they're doing because so-and-so doesn't like it.  

Of course, each party claims that they can't speak directly with the other because they wouldn't be receptive.  

Have they ever tried?  Nope.  

3.  Passive-Aggressive Behavior

My Big Red Hot Button.

This is when someone is too cowardly to directly address a concern with the party involved, so they tell everyone else about it and covertly attempt to sabotage that person.  

Here's the thing:  if you lack the balls to be honest about how you feel, please don't scheme behind someone's back.  Because, whether it involves me or one of my directors, things will not go well when you and I finally meet face-to-face. 

You'll probably cry.

4.  Splitting

If you request something, and, after careful and fair consideration, I say 'no,' don't then go running to 'Daddy' (this figure could be almost anyone) to try for a 'yes.'  That's known as splitting and it's a cheap shot that will irritate me.  

Plus, Daddy and I have already spoken.  

5.  Whining

Oh. My. God.  

Stop it.  

For realsies.

What are your communication Hot Buttons?

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  1. I am perhaps fortunate that I am out of a corporate environment now, with working for myself. In my line of work I just visit companies, interview them, and am out again in an hour or two.

    But I can tell you that my Mr B uses "passive aggression" (in its broadest sense) to request cups of tea. It goes something like: "Did you say you were putting the kettle on?" And lately just "Did you say...?"

  2. Has somebody asked for a good rant? "I has it!"

    Couple of things irritate me a lot. Both related to e-mails.

    First - when somebody needs anything mundane from me or one of "my people" and they include my - or even worse - their boss on the CC line. I always take time to explain that this behavior doesn't improve their chances of getting anything done sooner (since their boss isn't mine and I do not care what he/she thinks and my boss knows that my departments will do what needs to be done as soon as it's possible without his involvement) - if that was the purpose. But if they do it to let their boss know how hard they work they can spend extra couple of minutes to send him/her a separate e-mail with the report on their actions after they're done communication with me.

    Second even worse - when somebody thinks they found a problem or a wrong-doing from one of "my people" and - instead of talking to me and checking what was actually going on - reports it, again, to a couple of levels up. Smart people usually do not do that - no matter if there is actually a problem. So mostly those are... not that smart people. So more often than not they are wrong and rather demonstrate their lack of knowledge on a subject. I always help them to do that. To all the levels they included.

  3. It's sort of like splitting, but with no foreseeable benefit to anybody:

    K: "So-and-so is mad at you."
    J: "Are you mad at me?"
    E: "No, K is."
    J: "Are you mad at me?"
    K: "No..."

    At my last job, nobody addressed me about anything. At all. They came to my supervisor and she told me. I quit that one. It was service-oriented, and it was horrible.

  4. Hi Vanessa - you are very lucky to have the freedom of working for yourself, although I must admit I do enjoy the chaos of a large system, frustrating as it can be at times.

    I love Mr. B's use of passive aggression - a rather clever way to get one's needs met!

  5. Hi Undinaba - thanks for the comment! OMG, you are so right about the e-mail irritants.

    Political etiquette is widely misunderstood and people often don't realize that their attempts to copy everyone on earth to add drama to their request (or to state a problem with someone) reflects poorly on them and only highlights their cluelessness.

    When I look at it objectively, the different methods that people employ to get what they want are fascinating, and reveal a lot about how they function in their own families. In real time, however, it can be quite frustrating.

    Thanks a lot for stopping by!

  6. Hi Joan - wouldn't it be easier if we could just talk directly with each other? It's a radical concept, but I always require this before getting involved in any employee disputes.

    'I'll look forward to hearing about how your face-to-face conversation goes' is my response when I find they have not yet approached the person directly. This establishes their accountability along with my expectation that they will complete the task and let me know the outcome.

    Thanks for your comment!

  7. Josephine, many things irritate me at my work, and just like a few others, I find the habit of copying in all the 'influential people' in an email an irritant. It's a bit like telling tales by default and comes across school-monitor to me. Of course, there are times when people need to be copied in on emails in a working environment but I'm talking more about the 'I sent you an email this morning but you still haven't replied, therefore I am copying in your head, my head and the cleaner as well, just in case...' Grrr.

    Another thing that pisses me off is when a newbie arrives (usually one of my peers) and adopts me as a friend to get up to speed, find their feet and so on, only to drop me once he/she (usually he actually) has made a name for him/her self. I call it being used, and I know I should probably get over this sort of behaviour, which manifests itself at all ages and all peer groups, but hurts nevertheless...

  8. Michael, I totally feel your pain! It pisses me off also when someone tries to gain power by copying 'up the ladder' in an e-mail. This never pays off in the end.

    I can imagine that you are a very good mentor to others, but also understand the irritation of being 'dropped' when you are no longer needed. Still, you might consider this a compliment that you have done your job well.

  9. I work in as a first line manager for the DMV one of the most hated agencies out there but luckily I have a pretty solid team. Although their are days when I have to unload on my poor hubby and get it out of my system. Glad to hear I am not alone. :)



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