Why communication is key in the workplace

The relationship between the three directors of a print company had completely broken down. They were consumed by anger and resentment towards one another, and had completely lost the ability to communicate.

The first time I visited the print company, I was struck by the uneasy relationship between its three directors, not to mention the apparent lack of clients and uneasy silence in the office environment.

The three directors barely spoke to one another; they simply came in, fulfilled their duties and left. Whenever they did need to sit down together, tempers flared, a shouting match ensued and one, if not all of them, stormed out – until the next time!

I worked with each of the directors individually to examine the underlying cause of the anger, resentment and regret that they so clearly felt. It became apparent that these feelings stemmed from the negative views that they had of their co-directors, staff, clients and, ultimately, themselves. Together, we had to find a way for them to let go of their anger, resentment and regret, and our discussions on this subject resulted in the astonishing admission from two of the directors that they simply no longer wanted to be there. One of them had borrowed money from a family member to invest in the business and felt obliged to stay there, and another felt he’d been forced into the business by his wife. The third director truly wanted to remain in the business and make it a success, but his efforts to move the company forward were constantly thwarted by the other directors and the poor working relationship between the three of them.

The directors organised a board meeting to discuss the future of the company and, before the meeting, I spent time with each of them individually. We talked about listening, being heard and clarity because it was essential that, if they were to make any progress at all, they listened to one another and were able to be heard themselves.

The meeting was a success; the unanimous decision was that two of the directors would leave the company. The third would take over and make arrangements to pay back the money that the other two had invested.

We humans are often afraid of letting go because the status quo feels safer and more comfortable. Sometimes we’re afraid to rock the boat for fear of making a situation worse.

When we are actually brave enough to let go of a negative situation – be it a job or a relationship – our courage is rewarded and everything suddenly feels more positive.

One year on, the print company has more clients than ever, and, even more importantly, there’s a positive buzz of activity, energy and excitement when you walk in to the office now. The negativity is gone, and the remaining director has been able to introduce new services, products and ideas.

Each of the three individuals who I worked with has put that difficult period behind them and they’re much happier in their new roles.

Having experience the benefits of The Lotus Seed Process first hand, the owner of the business now uses the same principles to cut down on absenteeism and motivate his sales team. This case is a great example of how, once people address the barriers and obstacles that hold them back, they can have a positive influence on their business, their work life and their lives in general.

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