How people hear something can also affect what they hear. If your regular communication with your colleagues is eliciting negative responses – sighs, curt emails, or no response at all – it may be that despite your best intentions, how you communicate is leading them to be frustrated with you or (even worse) dismissive.
If you think the career path you've worked hard to carve out, and the overall respect of your colleagues may be in jeopardy because of misfiring on communication style, then working with a leadership coach could be your ticket to staying on the course you've chosen. A coach will listen to what you think you’re saying and will give you honest feedback about whether or not your intent is being achieved. He or she will let you know how your communications sounds, and will offer some different techniques to help you achieve your communication goals. Whether it’s your direct reports, senior leadership, or a team member with whom you’re feeling particular tension, your coach can help you get an accurate reflection of yourself and bridge the gap between what you’re saying and what people are hearing. Working with a coach, you can plan specific conversations, get techniques for managing difficult coworkers, and understand the best way to communicate with the variety of personalities and Team Work Styles on your team.
Better communication leads to healthier working relationships, and better teaming. A leadership coach can help you change how your message is perceived, and he or she can also help you recognize the intentions of your teammates. It might be that what you see as a brusque or snippy response to your request is actually a teammate trying to model the kind of expedient reply he or she prefers. Using your coaching relationship to test your assumptions and brainstorm new techniques can transform difficult relationships into productive ones, and remove some of the anxiety and frustration from everyday interactions with the colleagues with whom you work the most. It’s your individual opportunity to work on the communications you feel are the most challenging, and to find creative, effective solutions.