May 10, 2015 10:53 pm

Shoot the messenger? Or understand the core of the problem?

Filed under: Communication — ramsblog @ 10:53 pm
Tags: ,

Often times, we tend to get wear thinking hats and find the solution even before we hear the problem statement completely in its entirety. Well, most whom I interact with, are engineers, and it is way too common that our brains work alike. It takes a constant awareness to really hold our feet firm on ground and tell ourselves to calm down and understand the problem. I believe understanding the problem is a virtue one could have, that helps to find the solution in half the time , it otherwise would have taken. I remember the statement, my engineering college professor used to say while teaching “Production Technology of Industrial Engineering” –

“A Problem solvably stated is half solved”

I would like to extend this to say – provided we patiently frame the problem statement well.

I ran into these tongue-in-cheek situations about 3 times today – being on both sides. And the observation was, about the same – too quick to offer solutions.

Why do we shoot the messenger way too soon? Why not wait to understand the problem in its entirety? Does ego play a role there? Or Is it the engineer brain that makes us to get into analysis-paralysis way too soon? OR perhaps, the defensive nature, that we are not too good at taking the feedback, accept and acknowledge, and offer comments, if any.

I remember the conversation with a relative few years ago, where i was at a receiving end, when he gave the feedback about the context we were then talking about. I was too quick to reply, in other words, as I think of it now, defended the initiative I was part of. The immediate reply was, he was providing me of his perception of how that initiative looked to outside, me defending or accepting his observation, was up to Me / our team, who led the initiative back then.

When I encountered the similar situation today, I had to really bite my teeth and remember, that I was at a receiving end, so shut up and listen. Likewise, when I was at the other end, providing / observing feedback and observations, it is upto the receiving end to implement – for instance, my phone conversation with Comcast, and Lingo 2 days ago, and several other in-person conversations this weekend. Even as a giver, at times it is good to bite the teeth and tell the self, it is okay –  as long as the goal is to make things right. Again – “not perfect” , but the intention to make things right.

So what is the downside of shooting the messenger?

— Depending on the relationship between the messenger and the receiver, it will be the receiver’s missed opportunities to make things right and learn from the mistakes. It reminds me of another saying “God has given us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason; Listen at least twice as much we speak”.


Shoot the messenger ? Or Have some patience?

#Context #ListeningSkills #PresentationSkills #OpenCommunication

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