If you’ve ever felt abused, insulted, angry, planetbesttech and resentful, you may have experienced the “dark side” of a communication interaction. Do you have the tools to analyze and understand what happened and how the situation could have been prevented? Is it possible that you may unconsciously create “dark side” outcomes for others? By shedding light on the “dark side”, we become more aware of how intentions and methods impact upon people on the receiving end. Better and more fulfilling outcomes occur when focusing upon win-win “high road” personal and business communications.
Two simple questions and examples help you know the differences between “dark side” and “high road” communications.
1. What was/is the purpose of the communication?
Dark Side: People on the “transmitting end” seek power and control over others for self-interests or “emotional juice” for self-gratification. People on the “receiving end” experience loss of time, trust, motivation, self-esteem, physical property, money and reputation.
High Road: People on the “transmitting” and “receiving” end receive positive outcomes including understanding one another, building trust and relationships, gaining consensus and agreement, learning and teaching, sharing points-of-view, providing information, giving instructions and directions, making decisions and solving problems.
2. How was/is the communication delivered?
Dark Side: The communication methods are manipulative and/or highly authoritarian with a tone that threatens punishment if one does not accept or comply with the demands and requirements. Litmus tests for “dark side” communications include self-interests versus couple or group interests. Look for the ratio of “telling” versus “asking” for input and support. If the communication looks bad, feels bad and sounds bad, it’s probably a “dark side” communication.
High Road: The contrast is dramatically different from the “dark side.” You feel engaged and a part of the situation and solution. There are positive outcomes for all parties where no one gets hurt or compromises their values. If it’s a career situation, you can see the importance of what may be required of you for the benefit of the company’s positive sustainability. There is always a sense of fairness, equity and respect for all parties on a one-on-one or group basis. You feel respected and trust is built as a result of the communication. Relationships always get stronger on the “high road.”
The “dark side” is characterized by attacking and defending positions, getting your way at the expense of others with one sided or lopsided outcomes. “High road” communications result in no one gaining something at the expense of another. The best outcome is positive outcomes for all parties. “High road” outcomes result when well-meaning people with integrity pause and think about the purposes and methods of their communications. “High road” communications result in personal relationships characterized by harmony, growth, trust and respect; business outcomes also include high employee engagement, productivity and loyalty.