Would the REAL You Please Stand Up?
The most puzzling thing was that working with Tisha was like working with two different personalities all wrapped up into one person. She probably did not suffer from multiple personality disorder, yet there was this really odd disconnect. In person Tisha was as sweet as pie; nice, friendly cooperative and very easy to work with. Tisha’s emails were quite another story. They were terse and rude and horrific. It was not just Mary Carol who noticed this. At one time or another almost all of her team members had complained about Tisha. Nobody was really certain which Tisha was the real Tisha? Was it the person they saw in meetings or the person who sent such awful emails?
At least one thing can be stated definitively about Tisha. She was out of balance. Either she was not communicating in a way to support who she really was or her in-person style was really false. In turn nobody quite ‘got’ her. Did this impact her experience at work? Absolutely. Mary Carol would never place Tisha on any kind of assignment where Tisha was in direct contact with the customer. It was bad enough that her own team members flinched every time an email from Tisha appeared in their inbox.
Aside from keeping Tisha away from customers, Mary Carol was also responsible for discussing this issue with Tisha. As her leader, she needed to make Tisha aware of the fact that her communications style was confusing and upsetting to the people who had to deal with her.
Perhaps you know someone like Tisha? Someone who is not effective when they draw upon different communication styles? Yes, when we meet in-person our style may differ from when we are on the phone which differs from when we write an email. But if each type of communication comes across as-if they come from an entirely different person, that is a problem. In fact this creates conflict.
Think of the conflict you go through when you don’t understand why this person was so easy to work with in-person and now you feel like you are speaking with a complete stranger over the phone.
You can try (like Mary Carol did with Tisha) to help others around you, but you can’t control what they do. What can you do? Pay attention to your communications. Are you consistent? Does a voicemail from you have the same style to it as your emails? When your co-workers speak with you in-person, are you recognizable as that same person who just sent them an email? If the answer is yes, great! This makes it easier for people to get you and we want people to get you, right?.
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