How Not to Redline While Communicating

Recently, my husband bought me a leadership assessment with coaching session for Christmas.  If you know me, this was a gift that spoke my love language…much like my Glock 43 that awaited me under the Christmas tree the year before.  I took the Hogan Assessment online and had to rate a series of statements as to whether they are like me or not like me.  Then I had a coaching session with Jamey Gadoury from Outsider Consulting a few days later.  This was my first time doing a coaching session and letting someone see my insides.  Looking in the mirror is a humbling experience.  I’m not as great as I think I am!  Ugh!  But if I was truly being honest with myself, there was nothing in the outcome of my leadership assessment that I did not already realize deep down.  So, after the reality slap to the face—it was time to get down to work.

One of the areas that I could make some real growth in was my communication style and skills.  This month, my personal growth focus is on communication.  For me, clearly communicating my highest and best expectations while connecting meaningfully with those I love is not something that I’m good at doing.  I’m a bottler…and I bottle it up until I’ve had it.  My leadership assessment showed me on paper that I have a high gear and a low gear, but nothing in between.  Thinking about how my lack of gears affects the people I love, the people with whom I want to work, and the people with whom I have to work makes me want to get some traction on this communication issue.  Maybe you struggle with communication too?

I feel I am better at communicating when I am in a position of control or power; I’m controlling the messaging and the content.  (Hello, control freak!)  When I have to ask for something for myself, I feel guilty—so I don’t.  And then, I resent, stuff it down, and wait for my engine to redline.  It’s like I’m either the communication ice queen and you have no idea that something is up or my words are a sledgehammer doing a major demolition.

So this month, it’s getting real people.  I’m going to do my best to develop my mid-range communication skills and start having those awkward conversations about things I need from others before I’m exiling them to Siberia or blowing a gasket.  I read this great article on MindTools about developing tact while communicating in order to be effective.  One thing that stuck with me was the idea that tact is developing diplomacy and grace while responding to others.  The article linked above gives some great tips and I’m going to be working through them this month as I focus on my communication style.

Do you have the courage to take a good look at yourself as a leader?  Not the look where you see only the pretty parts, but where you get to see the ugly stuff too?

I would highly recommend taking a leadership assessment like the Hogan to get a clearer picture of what’s real in your leadership style.  The feedback from Jamey was invaluable—helping me to see with clarity the areas I could make some substantial progress in and helping me put words on behaviors that I knew I exhibited but couldn’t express.

So here’s to developing my middle gears of tactful communication this month!  Who’s with me?