Many difficulties in relationships, both professional and personal, arise because of a mismatch in expectations. The more shared clarity you seek then, the more chance you have of building something enduring based on trust.
Foundation of trust
Creating shared clarity is about actively working to close any (accidental) gaps in expectations. The idea is that if you sense any ambiguity whatsoever in the understanding of each other’s expectations, you seek to clarify this. So, this applies to both how clear you are about what you expect from them. AND, how clear they are about what they are getting from you.
If you feel that you have not fully conveyed what you need and expect — voice it, share it. What is to be gained by being silent? And, this is worth doing even if you have the slightest doubt that the other party has misunderstood something. Similarly, if you have even the slightest doubt about what the other party’s responsibilities are, double check!
Shared clarity when the stakes are high
The higher the stakes are, the more that shared clarity will matter. Just talk to a nurse or a surgeon working in an operating theatre and they will tell you. But, we can easily forget the value of shared clarity in the work place. The office setting may generally have lower stakes, but increasing shared clarity will only make you and your team more effective. This is key to having greater impact, whatever you do!
While nothing close to the operating theatre, I remember how in my private equity days we would triple check with each other any changes of plan. Especially, close to Investment Committee or bid deadlines. The stakes were just too high to have misunderstandings get in the way — things were already intense as they were!
Of course, there will always be limits to the level of clarity achievable, for example knowing the reasoning behind decisions higher up the chain. But, even that can be acknowledged and shared with your immediate team. You can still have shared clarity about the lack of clarity from above, and thus adapt as a team.
If you seek, you will find.
If you constantly seek high shared clarity, you will tend to attract similar people and inspire others to do the same. Of course, you may tactically choose to avoid shared clarity sometimes, for your own ends. For example, if you need to navigate work place politics in a cut throat environment. But, that is a different matter and not the focus here. Plus, it is worth asking if such a workplace is healthy for you, or for anyone?
Here, we are taking it as a given that the goal is to create high trust. So, if strong relationships based on trust are the goal, then shared clarity is fundamental. There simply is no way around this.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.