Now I think it's time to look at a more difficult problem -- interpersonal communications. You know, when two or more human beings actually talk to one another?
In his book, "The 27 Challenges Managers Face," author Bruce Tulgan gives a "code of conduct" that sets a standard for interpersonal communications.
If you do nothing else today, print this out and post it on your office wall, and get others to do the same.
Here's what we all need to do:
1. Listen twice as much as you talk.
2. Never interrupt or let your mind wander when others are speaking. When it's your turn, ask open-ended questions first and then increasingly focused questions to show you understand what the other person has said.
3. Empathize. Always try to imagine yourself in the other person's position.
4. Exhibit respect, kindness, courtesy and good manners.
5. Always prepare in advance so you are brief, direct and clear.
6. Before trumpeting a problem, try to think of at least one potential solution.
7. Take personal responsibility for everything you say and do.
8. Don't make excuses when you make a mistake; just apologize and make every effort to fix it.
9. Don't take yourself too seriously, but always take your commitments and responsibilities seriously.
10. Always give people credit for their achievements, no matter how small.
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