Joshua Wold

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On good communication

You can tell someone what you’re thinking, and convey that in a way that you believe is correct. But that’s only a very small part of what it means to communicate something. 

Communication happens through the words you choose to say, the words you leave unsaid, the way your words are shared, and the language your body is presenting (if you’re in person). You also communicate through the way you approach a project, how you talk to your team members, what you choose to share publicly and what is only said behind closed doors. 

You also communicate through built up trust over an extended period of time. If a close friend tells you something that’s hard to hear, but says it in just the right way, it might have an impact. If a coworker with a bone to pick says something in a spiteful manner (even if they’re right), well you’re unlikely to take much notice. 

All of this, and more, is important to keep in mind when trying to share your thoughts. It’s the responsibility of the sharer to convey what they mean to share. 

Writing

Writing down an idea is a way to gather your thoughts and think through a problem. It’s also a way to decompress after a long day. 

I’ve found over the years that I need to get out what I’m thinking in some form. Sometimes that comes down to sharing with a close friend how my day or week went and breaking down the pieces that occurred. Other times it means writing a daily update and sharing with my team. 

Then, sometimes, writing means taking the idea or concept I’ve been struggling with and retooling it in a way that I can share more publically. Sure, this could benefit someone else reading this, but more importantly it’s an outlet for me to add some structure to my thoughts. 

If you have found this helpful, or have any specific feedback, feel free to reach out! 

Working with people

You run into an interesting situation the moment you introduce more than one person into a project. Whereas at the start a project may have been from the mind of just one, now you have a few folks weighing in. At this point multiple opinions enter into a discussion, and you have to make decisions and tradeoffs based on that. 

This is a good thing. When everyone is pulling together in a healthy tension great things can happen. The challenge is it can be hard for a team to figure out the right balance between that healthy tension and a toxic environment that shoots down the value of everyone’s feedback. 

A lot of teams struggle with getting this balance right, and it’s tempting during any point in the project to think that everyone else is the problem. That’s not the case though. Any company you work at, any project you take on (unless you’re truly the only person) will involve figuring out how to work together with others. 

Recognizing this and just calling out the tension for what it is helps to solve part of the problem. Also, having grace for what someone says, and what they mean, makes a big difference. For example, when someone is trying to explain a concept they are likely to not use the right words for what they’re trying to say. Or, they might say something that’s incorrect, or that you disagree with. Having grace and patience means you’ll accept their intent, or question what they said, and find a way to work together.

If you start counting remarks as points against a teammate, and holding onto those as fighting points, then collaboration and mutual support will start to break down. 

Getting this right is hard. But it’s something we must figure out if we want to succeed in our work.