Why counting to 10 is a great communication skill.

Last summer a friend of mine moved her mother-in-law into the family home so that she wasn’t alone and could be looked after.

Nice for her and her family. Yes; but her teenage son is struggling with his grandmother being there 24/7. She always has a suggestion for how he should be doing something or a question about how he chooses to live. Not dramatic but a regular “you shouldn’t do it that way …” and “what did you do that for?”

He sees her interest in him as ‘interference’ and her suggestions as ‘complaints’. Apparently they argue quite a lot!

Why am I writing about a teenager and his grandmother?

Because it doesn’t sound so very different to when some clients talk about their boss or colleagues!

And I can guarantee that 99% of the time, the boss/granny is trying to help and the member of staff/grandson’s perception is that they are somehow “having a go”.

So, what to do?

To the grandmother/boss … count to 10 before you tell them how to do it your way.

Let your staff/relative do things their own way if the outcome is the same. You might put the tea into the mug before the milk but does it really matter? You may talk through your plans with the team but if they send an overview for the team to comment on … is it the end of the world? If the outcome is the same then let them get on with it … without comment!

To the employee/grandson … count to 10 before you respond.

Don’t choose to be irritated! You can choose to thank them and ignore their advice, or thank them and change what you are doing, but more often than not … you being irritated won’t affect them nearly as much as it will affect you. My clients are often still seething from day’s before … their boss has probably forgotten the whole episode within an hour of it happening.

You can replace any of the roles in these examples … it could be the boss annoyed with a member of staff, a colleague irritated by another colleague, a mother by her daughter. Whatever the relationship … think about whether it really matters if something is done differently and choose not to be irritated by the situation.

There is a reason that we were told to count to 10 when we were little … it really does help.

Comments are closed.