When it comes to human communication, there are two different theories. One theory, based on the psychoanalytic model, suggests that things that are festering inside you should be allowed an outlet. So you need to share exactly what you’re feeling with people.
On the face of it, this sounds like a good idea because it promotes honesty and sharing your feelings. However, depending on how you feel, sharing your innermost thoughts may actually lead to a breakdown in communication. If you feel negatively about certain people or the things they may have done, then constantly telling them how you feel is likely to lead to arguments and fights. This may not be a bad thing if you’re sure that ridding yourself of that person is the best thing for you in that moment.
However, if you’re still interested in keeping that person in your life, it might be a good idea to refrain from making negative comments about their present or past behavior. This is the theory put forth by other writers such as Dale Carnegie who wrote the seminal book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
According to Carnegie, the cardinal rule of communication is “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” This is the rule he puts forth in the first chapter of his book. If you’re close to someone like a spouse, a sibling or a co-worker, constantly criticizing them, even for small things, can really affect the quality of your relationship.
Carnegie suggests that relationships such as these can be improved immensely if you just take the time to say something good about the other person rather than something bad. Biting your tongue may not come easy but it has its benefits in the long run.
When you take management training classes, you learn the comparative benefits of these two models of communication. It may not always be a good idea to bite your tongue because certain attitudes or behaviors do need to be pointed out. Racism or sexism can’t be tolerated. You can’t just led them slide. On the other hand, if you’re always pointing out what your colleagues have done wrong rather than what they’ve done right, you might end up alienating everyone in your work environment.
Contact us for more information on facilitating communication in the workplace by taking management training classes.