No Time To Be Nice In Your Communication… Really?

Have you ever talked to someone about their short and curt communication style and heard them say, “I don’t have time to worry about that”? Let me call BS on that (Belief System).

When someone is uncivil, or their tone is not connecting, our brains are hijacked. The reptilian brain (the oldest most primitive part of the brain) is agitated and it’s releasing cortisol, adrenaline, and other nasty chemicals. If you look at what happens to brain function, the ability to think creatively shuts down. fMRI’s can actually show the blood flow moving from the Neocortex to the amygdala and limbic system.  So Mr. or Ms. “straight to the point” has damaged their teams ability to perform, all because they don’t have time.

Let me suggest that by slowing down, thinking through the

By David Castillo Dominici, published on 12 November 2013

By David Castillo Dominici, published on 12 November 2013

objective AND the way you want your team to respond, we can actually recapture time. If I take the time to frame the feedback on the corrections to the report in a way that tells my colleagues that I care about them, and that the feedback is to improve the product, then they can work from the creative and innovative part of the brain versus the primitive one. They don’t have to think about how to defend themselves or if they are at risk. They can just go to work fixing the report.

In one study at the University of Florida, the observers belittled the participants. As a result the performed 39% worse in their ability to solve the anagrams. Adding in the effect of mirror neurons, when a group of people see another belittled those mirror neurons cause them to feel it in the same way as the person being belittled and their performance also suffers.

Now consider the deadline that is missed because the team did not perform at its best. Or worse, a shoddy work product because they were on time but not on top of their game. And the reason they were not on top of their game was the way that the manager/leader had to get “straight to the point”.

Next time you are feeling rushed and feel you don’t have time to frame your words appropriately, let me suggest that you slow down and consider the impact you want to achieve. And then send THAT message.

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