„As one thing ot the group participants admitted, ‚Transparency can be uncomfortable‘, and yes, that’s true at first. But you’ll find that when you’re transparent with honesty and sincerty and within the guidelines of what’s considered professional in your work setting, people find it refreshing. It can powerfully transform an uncomfortable situation. Remember that this process of empathic connection is one of revolution because we’ve been conditioned for years and years. Think of yourself as committing a revolutionary act of productivity.
A story that illustrates this occurred during a meeting of about fifty residents of an RV park within a construction project area for a client. The project team manager was presenting information about the construction impacts. One of the residents grew increasingly agitated and began speaking in a tone that was louder than my colleagues and I wanted and using words that were uncomfortable for the project team manager to hear. Tension filled the room.
At this point, I recognized an opportunity to defuse the situation. I chose two actions. First, I emphatized silently to myself about the resident who was speaking, guessing what he might be feeling and his unmet needs. This took only a few seconds. Then, since tensions were high, I stepped in between him and the project manager and out of my need for transparency said to the whole group: „I’m uncomfortable with the language I’m hearing right now. Is anyone else uncomfortable?“ I was curious because perhaps only the procect team was uncomfortable because of our role in the meeting. After asking, about two-thirds of the people in the room raised their hands. The resident who had been speaking could see his effect on others and self-regulated his voice volume an word choices. I didn’t have to say anything more about his behavior. I transparently shared my discomfort and expressed sincere curiosity in my inquiry to the group about their discomfort.
Imagine a workplace where people are transparent about their feelings and needs; where people check with others if they are unclear or want to know if others are clear. People wouldn’t have to guess what others need or understand (and now they would want to know), and mind games, undercurrents, and power struggles would become obsolete. The resulting cooperation would boost productivity, morale, and thus the organization’s success.
If you’re uncomfortable with the words „feelings“ and „needs“ stated explicitly in your workplace, don’t use them. Just say, „Are you frustrated because you’d like more ease in communication?“ Find words that match to your culture. What matters is your intention with this process and your desire to connect out of curiosity for what the other person is experiencing.
Marie Miyashiro: „The Empathy Factor“, p. 166 f.
Erscheint im Frühjahr 2013 auf Deutsch bei Junfermann:
[Diese Buch-Auszüge sind eine leicht bearbeitete Fassung eines Beitrags, der erstmals am 19.12.2012 im Rahmen der „Initiative qualitative Marktwirtschaft“ auf Xing erschienen ist.]