THE RED ONION MIX-UP
It seemed like a simple enough task for my teenage son: “Go to the store and pick up a red onion.” Shortly after, he called me from the produce aisle in a fit of utter frustration. “I can’t find a red onion anywhere!” The conversation quickly devolved into utter two-way exasperation. “How could there be no red onions?” I insisted there should be a stand with hundreds of them. After a good deal of heated back and forth, I realized the problem… Red onions are, in fact, purple. That fact had never occurred to him. (I mean really, why aren’t they called purple onions?)
While the red onion caper was benign and easily solved, I realized I had failed to clearly communicate the task. I hadn’t recognized that my son is unaware of all things vegetable, and in that moment, he was frustrated to the point of abandoning the task altogether.
IS THERE A RED ONION PROBLEM IN YOUR PRACTICE?
We may have simple “go get me a red onion” expectations of our team members, but are we always communicating them clearly enough? Are we assuming they clearly and completely understand a concept or directive? Do we communicate intentionally, with greater awareness of how they might receive and process the messaging?
STRENGTHENING LEADERSHIP WITH INTENTIONAL COMMUNICATION
There are a few simple ways you can avoid “red onion” communication. First, SLOW DOWN! Make sure you are speaking in a way that allows them to process and understand your message. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, making sure they are clear about expectations. And most importantly, encourage their questions… And listen! This type of intentional communication solidifies mutual understanding, so everyone is on the same page. The end result is a stronger perception of your leadership, and less frustration. This is a critical piece of making sure your great employees stay with your practice, and remain engaged in reaching goals.
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Hope you have a great week!