People are basically chicken. Chicken to speak up. Chicken to say whatâ€™s on their mind. Chicken to make their feelings known. Chickenâ€¦ until theyâ€™ve let anger and resentment build up and the predictable volcano buries themselves and everyone around them.
So says David Maxfield led a presentation entitled Crucial Conversations: How to Get the Best Ideas When the Stakes Are High.
The highlight of his presentation, in my opinion, was the sixth grade science experiment. I was a few minutes late â€“ I think it was Maxfieldâ€™s son, but Iâ€™m not sure.
The experiment, which illustrates just how chicken-like people are, has a sixth grader butting in long, holiday-season lines. Complete with video, Maxfield showed that almost no one said anything. Just to test if the effect was a result of a child doing the cutting, the sixth graders mom (Maxfieldâ€™s wife?) got in the act, but with the same result.
The important thing to realize here is that while YOU may not be chicken (and you should ask yourself just how true that is) the people around are. So what can you do about it. Iâ€™m not sure this will blow your socks off, but think about it. Do you really actively try to do these things, because if you donâ€™t think about them, chances are, youâ€™re not really practicing them:
Make it safe â€“ people need to feel like they can speak their mind without reprisal. If you manage people, remember that relationship gives you power that you may not expect.
Candor â€“ Realize itâ€™s not the honesty in the speaker that is the problem. Itâ€™s the assumptions you are making about why they are saying what they are saying.
Mutual purpose and respect â€“ Again, it sounds simple, but do you really have the level of empathy that those around you know this exists.