Get to the truth and cut through the stories we tell ourselves, or assumptions we make.
Often, assumptions can be at the core of most conflict and angst, we can assume too much or too little about a person, or situation, we make up our own meaning, narrative or stories.
Instead of assumptions I have taken to applying a new habit, asking questions. It just cuts through so much potential time wasted on making the wrong assumptions. I have written some of the questions I use often to gain better understanding about situations I encounter, below.
I have found a good assumption to make is:
Everyone is doing the best they can, with the information, time and resources they have available right now. Including myself.
Once you assume that about someone or a situation, it gives you the freedom to look at anything from a new perspective, from that place of new perspective you can ask a KEY question or two, to move to a place of better understanding.
Some questions you can ask for greater clarity:
“May I ask what you meant when you said……?”
“ The story I am telling myself about …………………….. is………… can I just check in if this is correct?”
“I would love to know what you are thinking or how you are feeling about that?”
“Is there something else you would like me to know about this situation that may help me get a better understanding of it?”
“Is there something I can do to help you out with that?”
“What do you need right now from me or anyone else?”
“So I can get this in the right priority, what is your expected deadline for this?”
“Are you happy with……?”
“Is there something I can improve about……?”
Ask these questions with an intention to seek understanding, not to be right or pass judgement. By understanding a person or situation better, doesn’t mean you agree or take sides, what it does is open the doors of good communication and this can lead to a higher level of trust, less pain and better productivity.
Here is to better productivity and workplace environments
PS: I love to coach leaders and managers on the art of clear communication, get in touch if you want to explore that further.