Communication is the foundation of every relationship and, some could say, the foundation of life itself. Although communication is constant, effective communication is not. Filled with nuances and variations based upon culture, age, and dynamics, clear communication takes practice and dedication.
Communication is vulnerable and vulnerability is scary. Communication is vulnerable because it is a risk- we cannot control the response. This fear of being vulnerable and exposing ourselves to misunderstanding, rejection or confrontation can cause people to miscommunicate, and often, not communicate at all.
What is Inarticulitis?
“Paralysis of the portion of the psyche governing clear, complete communication, usually caused by fear.”
After years of research, this phenomenon of unclear or non-existent communication has been given a name- Inarticulitis. This obscure condition causes a paralysis in the part of the brain that communicates straightforwardly, and is usually caused by a fear of the consequent response and judgment from others. This fear of being misunderstood often leads to exactly that as we ‘fluff’ our conservations and make appearing nice or ‘liked’ a priority over being a clear, direct supervisor.
To an extent, we all suffer from varying levels of Inarticulitis. Especially in today’s cultural and political climate, we may fear direct communication will sever relationships with employees and coworkers or cause confrontation. As a result, when intending to constructively criticize we bury the statement amid neutral and positive phrases. We often trade formal reviews for ‘easy-going’ communication and whether casual, oral conversations or shortened texts that do not convey the full purpose, messages can become lost in trivialities. If you find yourself communicating in a way that ‘hides’ the intent of your conversation, you are likely one of many victims of Inarticulitis! But have no fear, you’re normal and we’re here to help.
Inarticulitis Limits Growth
Though Inarticulitis is a common phenomenon, this ‘fear of communication’ and attempt to avoid confrontation usually causes more issues than it is trying to prevent. As supervisors, it is our responsibility to guide our employees towards their own best performance for themselves and the team. A willingness to record and communicate when infractions occur provides employees with the opportunity to improve, for ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ and cannot change what we are not aware needs changing. This regular recording also allows the organization to have sound evidence of performance when it is time to evaluate.
Within organizations, evaluation can be an effective form of change. However, if not used regularly due to avoidance and Inarticulitis, growth often becomes unobtainable. A lack of consistency and formality of evaluation can be due to a fear of being a micromanager, appearing too serious or ‘naggy’ or ‘distrusting,’ but this irregularity of communication can actually prevent the building of trust. When formal evaluations are upon us, they can seem unsupported due to a lack of evidence and recording, often making the supervisor appear unprepared and disorganized. On the other hand, this ‘sudden’ critique can also make the employee feel attacked as having only received statements that ‘everything is fine,’ they can be blindsided by the knowledge that they are not performing up to par. This losing face on both sides can ultimately lead to the confrontation that was what was being avoided in the first place. This series of events can be traded for a more transparent stream of communication where a consistent, constructive critique allows both parties to grow at a similar rate, preventing the conflict that arises from performance discrepancy, which to wrap back around, usually only happens because one or both parties are not aware of their ineffectiveness.
Overall, evaluations are an opportunity for growth. As supervisors and leaders, it is our duty to facilitate that within our employees and community. Choosing to not communicate or to do so in an ineffective way does not help anyone and denies all involved the opportunity for expansion. Kindness and directness can be seen as mutually exclusive, but this is not the case. Learning the balance of both is the only way forward.
A common cause of Inarticulitis is a lack of confidence and practice in one’s own communication. As referenced above, although communication is a natural part of life, it is not easy. It is a skill that requires commitment and practice. Choosing to communicate effectively is what builds, sustains, and improves relationships. A lack of communication, usually due to good intention, will degrade the relationships and integrity of your organization. Choosing SUCCEED with TRUE-SPEAK will help you choose communication each time by building competence through practical and transformational tools. Through a user-friendly program and platform, SUCCEED with TRUE-SPEAK will help supervisors learn how to communicate honestly, compassionately, and directly.
SUCCEED with TRUE-SPEAK will help you foster a collaborative work environment through mastering the evaluative and supervisional aspects of successful leadership. You will learn how to create a culture of accountability and navigate complex situations as a skilled, strong leader. The best leaders build other leaders and SUCCEED with TRUE-SPEAK is here to help with a communication-forward program that ensures your Inarticulitis is articulated.