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Communicate Before the Company Dragon Eats You!


What do you do when your actions are questioned? What do you do when others think your conduct might be viewed as inappropriate or politically incorrect by some, but for whatever reason they decide to share their feelings with everyone but you? What do you when that person is in a supervisory capacity?

Do you:
Ignore it and move on?
Secretly plot the demise of that person?
Add sugar to their gas tank so the engine seizes?
Retaliate with similar attacks?
Reformat their entire hard drive?
Steal their blackberry?
Post mean things about them on MySpace?
Find that video........you know the one.......and post it to YouTube?

Years ago I was in this type of a situation; a supervisor who looked me in the face and used the following words; "Rich, you have something that works. These people love you. You're not going to change it and I'm not going to try to change you. Of course I wish you would change, but people love your style." Now the conversations behind my back were very different. She complained and bitched to the management team about my actions. Yep, she turned her head in support of my actions when talking to me, but then towed the company line behind my back. Well all that changed one day when one of those other management people approached me and shared the concerns.

So...what do you do? Someone has a problem with you; but just whines about you behind your back; perhaps to look good?

This is what you do... You ignore the person who came to share the news and you go right to the source. And if that person is BIG ENOUGH, they apologize for giving you mixed messages; then you forgive and the two of you move on. That's what communication is all about. Organizations need to stop encouraging communication and actually start communicating a bit more. That is how you earn respect and trust of the people you work with - by using face-to-face communication; not email or texting or making believe the situation does not exist or will go away. You face the dragon head on; especially when you feel you're right.

And that is what happened; I faced the dragon. She apologized for whining and complaining behind my back. She apologized for giving me mixed messages and reinforced that my style and approach reached a completely different customer base. She even shared how there were others (management) who supported my ways and that I was regularly a topic of conversation. I accepted her apology - I knew it was real. Our professional relationship went to a very different place after that - a better place. And I must say, it was the last time I ever heard about political correctness concerns - at least from her.

So let me ask you to think about this... Look around your organization and ask yourself if there is a dragon you need to face. And if you are the dragon, how are you going to handle it when someone approaches you in the right? Will you acknowledge the error or come up with some ridiculous reason or excuse to cover your tracks?

By Rich DiGirolamo

Rich DiGirolamo is a professional speaker from Wolcott, CT. He calls himself The Big Kid and enjoys "making painful processes fun." To learn more about Rich please visit richdigirolamo.com

Check Workplace Communication Section for more communication tips at workplace.

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