LEA 111: Leadership Training – Introduction to Interpersonal Communication and the Self
I know it sounds corny, but I’ve been waiting to take on some of these leadership classes for some time now. Every leadership development course offered during the last semester was given during a time I simply could not attend, or on a day in which I was not in the office. Even the closest training facility (Wake Tech’s North Campus) is roughly an hour’s drive away from my home. Could I have MADE time to take the classes by offering my students an alternate assignment? I could have, but honestly, the idea had never occurred to me. I know that looking back is nothing but stinking thinking (or whatever the word for that is these days), but I am proud to say that the school has offered training over the summer, and I hope to get the pre-reqs out of the way.
I think leadership training has lots of fantastic effects for the rest of the work situation in the classroom, employee interactions, and of course dealing with students. That said, This meeting was chock full of notes, so let’s get to it.
“Things to Remember” When Interpersonally Communicating
We are all selfish in our communication. We need to remember to “seek first to understand then to be understood” -Franklin Covey
When conveying information, always consider your audience. You would not speak the same way to your grandmother as you would to your neighbor’s child. You can never “NOT” communicate. Even non-verbal communication is communication. Words are Powerful. They are powerful tools for change, powerful tools to help, and powerful words to hurt. Once said, they cannot be returned and will not be forgotten.
WHAT IS INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION?
Interpersonal communication is communication between 2 people who have a mutual influence over each other and play a unique role in each other’s lives. As the relationship continues, the two people build personal knowledge of one another, adjust their messages and create shared meaning.
I was a little bit unsure about this part of the talk in all honesty. As outlined here, interpersonal communication is only between two individuals who have “mutual influence” over each other. Does that mean I cannot have interpersonal communication with my boss, supervisor, team lead, or the team over which I manage?
Interpersonal Communication Involves Content and Relational Messages
- Content– The words that are said. These are the “things” to argue about…people, events, tasks; These items are all external
- Relational – Indicates the relationship between the people or how one feels about the content; who is in control, who is not being treated fairly, etc.; These items are all internal
- Application – It is important to try to keep content conflicts centered on content. When these content conflicts get out of control, that’s a signal that there is really a relational conflict underlying the content conflict. Think of a recurring interpersonal conflict you have with someone. Do you focus on the content or relation?
Interpersonal Communication Is Ambiguous
Ambiguous refers to the fact that messages can be interpreted as having more than one meaning.
- A Smile
- A Wink
- Walking out of a room
- “I’m fine.”
- “I need the project on my desk soon.”
- “You’re not working up to par.”
We need to recognize ambiguity and try to clarify and specify to avoid misunderstandings.
Elements of Interpersonal Communication
There are two main elements of interpersonal communication: The communication Source/the communication Receiver and the Encoding of information and the Decoding of message information.
The Communication Source and The Communication Receiver
- Source – The person who formulates and sends the message
- Receiver – The person who receives and interprets (and hopefully understands!) the message
Encoding/Decoding a Message
- Encoding – The process of producing messages by applying a “meaning” behind the message.
- Decoding – The act of understanding or translating messages
Messages can be defined as: Signals that serve as stimuli – they are transmitted and received through our senses. It is important to note that Messages can be verbal, nonverbal or a combination of both.
Mixed Messages – When verbal and nonverbal messages don’t mirror one another.
Interpersonal Communication Involves Verbal & Nonverbal Messages
- Verbal–Your words (written & spoken)
I-Messages are less likely to trigger defensiveness and creates a clear impression that the speaker is responsible for what he/she is saying. It also shows that you are expressing your own perceptions rather than accusing.
I-Language Should Include the Following:
- The Other Person’s Behavior
- Your Feelings
- The Consequences the Other Person’s Behavior Has For You
Examples of “I” Messages
“I get embarrassed (feeling) when you talk about my poor performance in front of my fellow co-workers(behavior). That’s why I’ve been aloof lately (consequence)”
“I haven’t been assigning you projects lately (consequence) because you have been displaying an unwillingness to collaborate (behavior). I feel that you are removing yourself personally and professionally from our team, which is a concern for me. (feeling)”
I have always approached “I-Messages” in terms of “I-Statements”. These use a specific format: “When you… I feel… Because…”
“When you scream at your sub-ordinates, I feel the motivation and safety of the team is at risk because several employees have complained about your actions and are actively seeking employment elsewhere.”
“When you surprise me with shortcomings at my annual review, I feel shocked, cheated, and betrayed because these items could have been fixed if they had been mentioned/counseled before the annual report.”
“When you make time for these 1:1 meetings every month, I feel really appreciated and empowered because we set some clear goals to accomplish and I feel motivated to give you what you want.”
Channel The medium through which messages pass or the means to communication.
Types of Channels:
- Context: The environment in which communication takes place
Four Dimensions of Communication
- Physical – Environment
- Temporal –“Right Time”
- Social-Physiological –Relationship between people communicating
- Cultural Dimension–Beliefs or norms of communicators
Competence and Interpersonal Skills
Competence increases as your list of skills increase. In order for your personal list of skills to increase, you must be willing to engage in “trial and error.” It is important that you not be afraid of failure, but rather that you should be open to failure as the prelude to success.
Application: Think of someone who you consider to be a competent communicator. What are his/her characteristics that stand out to you?
Ernest Roy’s Short Course in Human Relations
- The Six Most Important Words: “I admit I made a mistake.”
- The Five Most Important Words: “You Did a Good Job.”
- The Four Most Important Words: “What is Your Opinion?”
- The Three Most Important Words: “If You Please,…”
- The Two Most Important Words: “Thank You”
- The One Most Important Word: “We”
- The Least Important Word: “I”
Competence and Power
Enables you to control and influence the behaviors of others. If you have strong interpersonal skills, you will most often be able to control and influence others.
Application: What are some examples of Interpersonal Skills that Display Power and Enhance your Competency? Detract?
Competence and Listening
An effective communicator must be as good at decoding as he/she is at encoding. It is not just about listening, but listening with empathy and an open mind.
- We MUST remove our biases and opinions
- We MUST “Actively” listen
- We MUST use confirming responses
- We MUST remove noise from the interaction
- We MUST remember that people are often not asking for our opinion or input. Sometimes they just want to be heard…..
- We MUST remember that “responding” is part of the listening process. How you respond indicates how competent a listener you are….
Application: A co-worker, who you collaborate with on a lot of projects comes to you and says, “I know I haven’t been pulling my weight lately. My husband lost his job last month, my mom’s been sick and I’m not sleeping well. I just don’t know what to do.” You have been very frustrated with her lack of productivity and the fact that you’ve been doing a lot of the work. How would a competent listener respond?
Competence and Credibility
Demonstrating Ethical Behavior
- Treating People Fairly and with Respect
- Compliance Gaining Strategies
Owning Up to Our Inevitable Mistakes…
Effective Use of Excuses – 5 Elements
- I See – Acknowledging other Person’s Feelings
- I Did It – Accepting Responsibility
- I’m Sorry – Showing Remorse
- Forgive Me
- It Will Not Happen Again
The Self in Communication
The image of who you are and how you perceive yourself. It is stable and can be manipulated and changed only to a certain degree. Consists of the words you would use to describe yourself – nouns or adjectives
Application – Write down the words that you feel best represent your self concept. Why did you write those words?
4 Sources of Self Concept
- Other’s Images of You – How accurate is our perception of what others think of us?
- Social Comparisons – Who do we compare ourselves to? How realistic are our comparisons?
- Cultural Teachings – What messages do we receive?
- Your Own Observations, Interpretations and Evaluations
Self-Esteem is the measure of the value you place upon yourself, based on how much you like the aspectsof your Self Concept. Your self-esteem levels change constantly depending upon how you feel about your self-concept. The higher your self-esteem, the more successful you will be and the more competent of a communicator
Self Concept vs. Self Esteem
Self-Awareness is the extent to which you know yourself. How conscious you are about who you are, including physical, emotional and behavioral. The more self-aware you are, the more you are able to monitor and control your thoughts and behaviors. As a result, your communication and interaction with others will improve
- Presenting Self – The person you want others to see. In order to “create” this person, we manage our identities.
- Perceived Self – The Person you really are.
Application:If and when do you move from Presenting to Perceived Self in a relationship – working or personal?
Communicating negative or positive information about yourself to another person
- The information must be received and understood by another person
- The information must be something the other person does not already know
- The information includes:
- Your Values and Beliefs
- Your Behavior
- Your Self-Qualities or Characteristics
Guidelines for Self-Disclosure
- Is the Risk of Self-Disclosure Reasonable? – In a Personal or Work-related Relationship
- Are the Amount and Type of Disclosure Appropriate?
- In the Disclosure Relevant to the Situation at Hand?
- Is the Disclosure Reciprocated?
- Will the Effect be Constructive?
The Johari Window
A tool used to examine what you know, or don’t know about yourself. It also connects the concept of self-disclosure to the effectiveness of our interaction with others.
I do not really buy in to things like this which are really touchy-feely. Emotions are good, need to be considered, and are truly a part of communication, HOWEVER, many management decisions cannot be based upon emotion. Many management decisions need to be based upon emotionless best-practices, and doing what’s right, or what’s best for the team- rather than what you FEEL is best for the individual. Can you imagine not firing someone who drinks on the job even after citing them?
Honestly, I cannot be sure that everyone is truly in touch with themselves- but I feel that I am. I don’t think I’m alone on this. That said, Let’s continue discussing the notes from the leadership session.
Four Parts of The Johari Window
Johari Window Goals
- To Analyze Your Communication behaviors and make adjustments for competency
- To Increase your “Open” Self
- To See Yourself as Others Do
- To Listen to Others’ Feedback and be willing to make necessary changes
10 Things that Matter Most to People Who Know You (from Levinson & Godin’sGet What You Deserve ,1997)
- Keeping Promises
- Ethics and Honesty
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
What kind of communicator do you want to be today?
This entry was posted in Leadership, Professional Development and tagged communication, competence, ernest roy, human, human relations, i-messages, I-statements, interpersonal communication, johari, johari window, lea, lea111, leadership, management, management decisions, north campus, relationships, wake tech.