We humans make sense of our world by classifying our experiences, conversations and other people. Our classifications are binary in nature; they are an either/or category. The most common is good or bad. Other common classifications are them and us, like me or not like me, happy or sad. We make our classifying decisions based on the emotion we experience - our feelings - at that moment.
Confusing or mixing messages occurs when the receiver of the message thought that the message was going one way ("good") but it turns out that it was going down the other way ("bad") or vice versa. Emotions are conflicted.
By allowing your emotional detectors to guide you, you'll become more aware of any mixing of your own messages, and can also learn by observing others. Here are some common examples:
When we mix our messages, we are confusing the emotional response - the feelings - we trigger in the receiver. In the first part of our message we are leading the person down the path of either good or bad, for example, and then we confuse the message - the person's emotional detectors - by diverting them down the other path.
Given our hardwired instinct for loss aversion, when we mix our messages, the negative one dominates. The negative emotion becomes the memory of the event.
The remedy to avoid mixing messages is simple - stick to one emotion associated with each event. When there are two objectives to cover, it becomes necessary to separate the events, so that the emotions attached to each don't mix.
Using the examples above:
Our guide is the receiver's emotional detector. If our message is intended to be "positive", then make that the message and don't confuse the issue by mixing with a "negative" one. Leaders should avoid trying to squeeze too much into any one interaction, and thereby will achieve greater clarity in their communications with staff.
When it comes to leading an organisation, every leader fundamentally understands the consequences of a poor leadership approach to finances. We understand the consequences of a poor leadership approach to governance or change management. But how many leaders are fully aware of the consequences of a poor leadership approach to communication?
Trust is critical to the success of any organisation. A study completed by Paul Zak (author of The Neuroscience of Trust) found that in comparison with organisations where there is low trust, high trust companies report 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity and 76% more engagement. But trust is a fickle thing and while taking time to build, it can be broken in a heartbeat.
Occasionally in organisations, leaders engage in tactics that actually undermine the cohesion and performance of their own team. What's going on in such situations? What are the games some leaders play and why do they do it?
8 Unavoidable Moments Leaders Need To Communicate Through
How To Use Storytelling As Your Secret Weapon
Copyright © 2019
International Institute of Directors and Managers
ABN 26 112 140 299.
All rights reserved.