Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix

Communication Traps

2022-09-04 — Michael Haupt

When communicating, we can fall into some common traps - and it's not just people in leadership positions who are prone to falling into them. I'll give them each with a headline including a symptomatic phrase, description of how one's behaviour looks in the trap, questions one can ask oneself to validate one's position, and suggestions for behaviour to get out of the trap.

  • The solution trap: "I know how to do this!"

    I'm being prescriptive rather than collaborative, I come with a canned solution rather than allowing one (probably better?) to emerge from discussion.

    Do I really know better? Am I bored and want this conversation to end?

    I should put myself in the other’s place, take their perspective, and try to ask myself open questions from there.

  • The ego trap: “I’m right about this!”

    I'm imposing yourself on others, rather than seeking common understanding.

    Am I really right? Am I too lazy to explain my point?

    I shouldn't counterargue. I should avoid using “but” / “no” / “however”; I should rather respect the other’s view and develop the next iteration from there by offering alternative perspectives.

  • The judgment trap: “This is why you did that!”

    I'm jumping to conclusions about the other’s motives rather than thinking about what might drive them.

    Am I seeking confirmation for some prejudice I have? What prejudice might I have? Might the other be after the same thing as I?

    I should assume good / shared intentions and ask questions to understand.

  • The Sinatrap: “Do it my way.”

    I'm imposing my way of doing things on the other rather than letting them find or follow their own way.

    Am I so convinced of my way that I don't see merit in any other? Do I just want the other to follow my rules, am I defending some ground?

    Unless actual harm is done, I should let the other be and seek to understand why they address things the way they do.

There are many overlaps between these, and the differences are often nuanced. They lie in the ulterior motives, which the validating questions hint at.

How does this work?

Tags: work, coaching