Here we go again as I have taken being right too far, and I’m certainly not without fault in this communication snafu. It started as I got home early and CeCe was finishing up outside with some yard work. We sat down for a moment and both agreed we wanted to take Oliver (our Yorkie puppy) for a walk.
CeCe: “Do you mind if I get a quick shower before we go?”
“Not at all,” I reply as I pull my boat out of the garage and begin working on the batteries in preparation for fishing this spring. Of course, there’s a problem (boat owners understand this frustration) and I am knee-deep in working on it when CeCe returns.
CeCe: “I’m ready.”
She has her jacket on and Oliver has his leash on and they are obviously ready to hit the trail.
Me: “Okay, just give me five minutes.”
I look up and there go CeCe and Oliver about half a block away. She left without me, and with no warning — not a word. I can feel the steam rising as I gesture “what the heck?!” with my arms. CeCe stops and turns. I quickly hook up the battery charger and run down the driveway to catch up.
“You couldn’t at least give me a word that you were going on without me?”
CeCe: “I told you I was ready to go and it has been 24 minutes already. I wanted to go before dark.”
Me: “We have plenty of time before dark, I didn’t realize it had been that long. You could have at least gotten my attention and said you were going on.”
CeCe: “You came home early to work on that boat anyway. You knew I was ready to go and I waited 24 minutes.”
I will spare us the rest of the conversation as I was not at my best while I continued to prove I was right as she had hurt me by her actions. In reality, I had hurt her but was blind to it as we continued this discussion for most of our walk. What should have been a relaxing part of our day, I let fall into that vast, deep crater of poor communication.
Poor communication costs us so many treasured moments as well as creates very stressful personal and business situations.
There are three keys to being a better communicator:
- We must really care.
- Be a better listener and listen first.
- Overcommunicate with openness.
We will never get it right all the time, but we can work to #beEvenBetter and reap the benefit of better relationships in business and with family and friends. When we avoid confronting others due to fear, hurt feelings, stress or just the hassle of expecting a different opinion, we actually open the door to more drama.
Good communication helps everyone understand more, reduces drama, provides opportunity for input and promotes unity. This is critical for clarity on strategic decisions so that your company and team are moving in a common direction.
I rescued part of our evening when I kissed CeCe on the cheek and said, “I’m sorry.” That’s the last lesson that I will share and it’s one that I continue to struggle with and incur hard lessons like this one. Being right is not always the best outcome!