Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Playbook: Cracking the Personality Code: Discover the Key to Enhancing Your Interpersonal Communications

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Playbook: Cracking the Personality Code: Discover the Key to Enhancing Your Interpersonal Communications

Article excerpt

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A client made an interesting comment once about interpersonal communication: "It's not what you say; it's what they heard." In the world of parks and recreation, how you communicate and how it is heard can make a huge impact on every individual you work with--plus a few you don't even know.

To raise the standard through better interpersonal communications, there are three key steps for dealing with others:

Know your participants. The key to effective management is knowing your staff.

Show empathy. Strive to understand different viewpoints to see where people are coming from.

Work from a vision. Where do you want to go with an individual? If you don't know, how will she?

If your agency performs in-depth personality or work-style assessments, it is helpful to review the data to understand how an employee is thinking or approaching things. If your organization does not do these assessments, talk with your management team about incorporating some type of assessment into the hiring process.

A work-style assessment will help in understanding how employees problem solve, how they deal with stress, and their thought flow. You will see how someone processes information, shares ideas, and communicates.

There are four typical styles of miscommunication:

* An employee avoids or runs away from an issue.

* An employee pretends conflict doesn't exist.

* An employee gives in or goes along with others.

* An employee attacks or attempts to win through force or overpower with criticism, insults, manipulation, or name-calling.

Now that you have a good idea of who you are dealing with, here are some do's and don'ts for effective one-on-one communication, especially when dealing with a heated or recurring issue:

Do have respect for the other person (even though you may not agree).

Don't take the conflict personally.

Do be a good listener (avoid interrupting, and ask questions only when the other person is finished speaking).

Don't assume the other person understood.

Use "I" statements when you are discussing a topic, such as, "I feel it is not constructive when you speak to me in that manner, because it feels like you are being disrespectful to me. …

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