What Do You Lose By Not Sorting Through Environmental Noise?
There is so much noise in our environments. Whether this noise is reflected in the inability to communicate, the wrong fashion of communicating, or allowing too much emotion into our communication, nothing moves forward and everything becomes vulnerable to that noise.
To begin diminishing the noise, let’s start with you: Are you completely closed off to all ideas and opinions that surround you? That is where that noise begins — in the process, or lack thereof, of interacting with ideas.
My hope is that you’re not. I’m hoping you at least acknowledge those concepts, whatever forms they may take.
There’s no need to accept every idea in the form that it’s presented or expressed, but it is important to review and consider ideas, seeking merit in the details that make them up in your review.
This type of acknowledgement serves two purposes:
- It allows the provider of the idea or concept the ability to be heard.
- It demonstrates flexibility in those who listen, even if they don’t agree.
Some people will understand the fundamental importance of listening to others, considering others and acknowledging them. Others might not.
After you’ve analyzed your own ability, only then can you turn your focus to those around you.
Here lies yet another powerful habit a leader can infuse into the environment: If those around us don’t demonstrate the ability to listen to each other, it is our job as leaders to parse out the disagreements, sort through the noise, and find the common ground upon which to build a workable consensus. The idea is to get to a workable position for both sides, not the perfect goal or terms for each. There needs to be (workable, realistic) compromise.
As an example, all of this seems to be lost in politics. More often than not, we find each side entrenched in their disparate ideologies. While the politicians of the past may not have found any merit in the justifications of the other side while trying to find it, their modern-day successors are not even looking.
The state of politics today reinforces the need for greater communication. Politics has become the antithesis of what we should strive toward: That even when we disagree, we need to make sure we’re disagreeing at the right level, based on information, not anger. We need to make sure not to elevate the debate to an emotional level, which can lead to accusations, disrespect, dismissal, and isolation — all forms of the noise blocking productivity.
What role do you play in your environment to rein in the tone of conversations around you which may be turning too emotional and losing too much focus?
This goes beyond emotional intelligence, where you keep your head right despite the emotions running high. This calls on you to, in addition to keeping your head right, proactively guide the conversations so that others can reconcile their true needs and not their (emotional) positions or egos.
To begin reconciling the sides, keep in mind these considerations and questions:
Grow Your Environmental Awareness
How well do you listen to the discussions, tones, and conversations taking place in your environment?
Understand the Tones
How well do you read the tones and concerns in your environment, both those that are obvious and those which burrow deeper below the surface?
Assist When Possible
How do you step in and mediate, making sure the relationship of the people who need to work together is not obstructed or blinded by emotion or opinion?
Follow Up As Necessary
If you do step in and get people on the right page, how do you follow up to make sure the coordination and understanding is maintained?
Set The Example
How well do you exude and model the behavior to work in the right direction, so that others can learn how to take those steps for themselves?
Keeping your ear to the ground and stepping in when necessary help avoid these following detriments to the environment and the people:
If people are spending more energy going at each other, they’re not tackling the mission and needs at hand.
If people feel too overwhelmed and underproductive, each which can limit their performance and fulfillment, people will walk away.
If the relationships suffer because no one can see eye to eye enough to work together to solve the common problems, regardless of what the environment, structure, or industry of the mission is, the external optics of the group will cost it credibility.
Once the brand is tarnished by the external perception, because no one has stepped in to rein in others back to the reasoning of why they need to work together – the common good and benefit – further growth, evolution, partnerships, and opportunities are compromised.
Whether at the individual or group level, so much gets lost due to internal uncertainty and noise.
At the individual level it happens when someone is not prepared, coordinated, or organized enough to put their best attributes, skills, and abilities together.
The same happens at the organizational level – the inner-workings, whatever they may be, build their own obstacles and self-sabotage the mission at hand.
In both cases, so much is forfeited and ignored because each entity, whether it be the individual or the organization, gives into its first impulse – emotion.
In the individual, it may be a need built on fear or confusion. In the organization, it is that individual need built up to a level that impacts many more people.
How are you keeping a lookout to make sure people’s needs are being met without infringing on the needs of others and the goals of the mission?
How do you sort through the noise to make sure all the pieces fit together?