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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Your Communication Filters

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Last week we talked about the frustration that can arise when communication with coworkers goes nowhere. We explained the role that our personal filters play in what we say and how we say it, as well as how we receive communication from others.

While it’s great if all your employees have good communication skills, it falls on leaders to ensure that communication in the workplace is successful. Leaders must model good communication and help create a culture based in healthy and productive communication practices.

For this reason, it is important that leaders recognize the filters they bring into their interactions with employees. Having an awareness of your own filters puts you in a better position to manage your behavior, ensure that your intent equals impact, and keep communication on a productive track.

The following practices can help you become more aware of your filters and the potential impact they may have on those you lead.

  • Before turning on your computer or clicking to read your email, take a moment to pause and turn your attention inward. Notice what you’re thinking about, what you’re feeling, and the sensations in your body. This practice helps you fine tune your awareness of how you are showing up at the office.

  • Before and after interactions with employees, take a similar pause and ask yourself:

    • What stresses are/were you carrying with you into the interaction?

    • What beliefs or assumptions are/were you carrying about the employee? How did these influence your interactions with them?

    • Were you able to be open to new ideas and perspectives or did you rigidly adhere to your initial ideas? Why or why not?

    • Did you behave in a way that encouraged others to communicate with you, even if they needed to tell you something you wouldn’t want to hear?

Fine tuning your awareness helps you notice when your filters might be at play during an interaction. You can then make a conscious choice to take a step back and slow down the conversation. Be sure to take responsibility for your behavior and then do something different to get the communication back on track.

Next week, we’ll spend some time thinking about the filters your employees might bring into their interactions with you and ways you can effectively respond when this happens.

Image by Nathan Dumlao with Unsplash

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