WRITTEN BY DIANE VACCARO
A common problem that I find myself in when parenting my children is I often feel that we are using the same words but have completely different understandings of what they mean. For instance: clean, healthy, nice, help. I speak these words and expect one thing. They hear these words and do something other than I intended. What does a clean room look like? What constitutes a healthy snack? Is that really being nice to your brother? That kind of “help” wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Words are powerful tools in our attempts to communicate. But, its crazy how often we can be saying the same thing but picture something completely different in our minds. What I picture in my mind when I say, "clean your room," is not what my children picture in their minds.
The same is true in teams and as a leader. Consider the word teamwork. It's possible that everyone on your team knows the word but imagines different pictures of what teamwork looks like in action. Is it solely about reaching the goal? Do you work together? Do you ask for help? Do you give advice or correction? It's important that a team has the same picture of teamwork in order for everyone to feel successful as a team.
This can be solved with a simple question: What do you picture when you say teamwork?
By having each person on the team share their answer, together you can see where the disconnects are and, as the leader, make sure everyone leaves with the same understanding. This is a great practice to have no matter who you are talking to. Whether your children or spouse, friends or coworkers, clarity is always helpful.
Is there a conversation you need to have to bring clarity? Are you speaking the same words with someone and realizing there is a disconnect? Go ahead and ask: What are you picturing when I say .?