“There is almost nothing a person can say or do that cannot be responded to either with empathy or some form of self-connected expression.”
– Ike Lasater, Words That Work In Business
Which Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg?
Do you find you have trepidation about using NVC at work? Fearful that co-workers will wonder why you’re talking so strangely? Your fear may become a chicken-or-the-egg challenge where you ask, “How do I get the skills if I’m afraid to use them? Yet, how do I use them safely without having the skills?”
A powerful way to develop NVC skills in the workplace is through silent practice. You can practice the inner work of NVC without anyone knowing.
One powerful method of silent practice is called “Awareness of Blocking Connection.” The two steps of this practice help us recognize the many ways our communication itself can block connection.
Silently, take these steps:
(1) Notice the times when you feel less than connected while speaking with a coworker or boss.
(2) When you notice you are not feeling as connected as you would like, determine whether either of you are doing any of the following: defending a position, explaining, moralistically judging, diagnosing others, blaming, seeking to punish, or “needing” to be right. Any internal sense of wanting the other to feel guilt or shame also tends to generate disconnection
Recognizing – and becoming conscious and aware of – of these barriers to connection is a powerful initial step in the NVC learning process.
Mindful Practice for the Week
This week, take pause to silently reflect on a conversation or encounter at work that didn’t go well. Ask yourself if you experienced thinking that may have blocked your ability to stay compassionate.