Nathan and Sasha are part of an innovation team, and the product launch is coming up. Nathan forgets to update Sasha on the marketing department’s strategies, and she has to rework the budget at the very last moment. Nathan apologizes for the lapse, saying, “I just forgot.”

From Nathan’s perspective, his intent was to be supportive of the team, including Sasha. Sasha’s not so sure. Nathan has argued against some of her positions at project meetings recently. She’s now convinced that Nathan has an issue with her and didn’t really forget to keep her in the loop.

Communication that results in mutual understanding must include a shared picture of intent. In this situation, either Nathan or Sasha (or both) needs to muster the courage to start a deeper conversation. Nathan might say, “Sasha, I am sensing that we’re not okay. Let’s talk more about what happened so I can understand your concerns.” Sasha could tell Nathan, “I appreciate the apology. I need to share some other issues that I think are impacting the relationship.” Either statement gets the ball rolling and gives them an opportunity to clear the air and understand one another better.

When communicating, make sure your intent is clear, and understand that the impact of your message can trump your good intentions. Likewise, if you feel that someone has wronged you, resist the urge to jump to conclusions. You really don’t know where the other person is coming from unless you ask.

We can help you remember that jumping to conclusions is never good exercise. Talk to us.

Photo from Dollar Photo Club.