Thursday, April 19, 2007

The One Way Street

Communicating with others is something we do on a daily basis in one form or another. Yet though we practice this art all of our lives, at times it is one of the most neglected aspects of it.

Lack of communication is normally cited as one of the major causes of issues at work, at home, at play. It is so easy to do and yet so taken for granted, that often it gets totally forgotten or ignored. Yet without it, misunderstandings and more can ensue. Sometimes with devastating results.

As an author, communicating is a very important part of the process of writing. Books are a definite form of communication -- with them we impart knowledge, feelings, locales, situations, reactions. And the more apt we get at showing these things, the better we get at communicating with our readers. So in some ways it has been a hobby of mine to keep an eye on communicating and communication and how these relate to everyday life and therefore hopefully teaching me things to better improve my writing. (Not that this means I ever learn anything or have gotten better at it! lol! But we must trudge on as best we can. Even I, the clueless.)

Yet there is more to learn from seeing how communication relates to life than just the writing we do. It also teaches us about relationships, human behavior -- direct correlations that can be used in the societies and organizations within the stories we create.

By this point you're probably scratching your head thinking - "yeah, that's all well and good, but what does any of this have to do with the weird title?" Ah, we're almost there! It's all about that whole communicating thing again.

One communication deficit which I have noticed occurring from groups of two to hundreds of people is the One Way Street.

In an optimal situation, communications would would work like a giant, double decker superhighway, with information/feelings flowing from and to other individuals, regardless of their status, sex, or age. Normally, however, you get anything but a free flowing highway. Throw in some construction, some pitted roads, detours, and communications get jumbled, lost, discarded.

Unfortunately, what tends to be most prevalent is that some never even make it out to the car, let alone drive. Signs get posted forbidding admittance and at times there is no road! (But I digress as I go off alone down a path of metaphors and cute phrases and make everyone gag. Okay...back on track...)

What a One Way Street is is a situation where communications should be flowing back and forth and instead seems to come entirely from one side only. As an example, let's use a boss and his employee. (Mind you the roles can be reversed on this easily and often are.) The boss sends memos or has chats with the employee and keeps them updated on what's going on and what expectations he has of them. He informs them that his door is open and to please feel free to bring up anything amiss so he can help work them out. Basically, the boss is doing what one hopes he will do - his job!

Not hearing from the employee, the boss will assume all things are fine, for surely he told the employee to come to him with any problems.

The employee, meanwhile, is actually very unhappy. He hangs in his corner and complains to his friends. The gripes fester and boil. He has all these problems and his boss never helps. His life is the pits. He knows the boss is in his office just surfing the net leaving him with all the work all day. Yet whenever he sees him, he smiles and says everything is swell.

So the boss is going along thinking all is good and fine when - wham! Something will happen that will bring all the dirt up into his face when he least expects it. (And that's if he's lucky! He might just continue on cluelessly for who knows how long!) It will be a blow from left field - totally unexpected. And worse, might not be able to understand why it happened in the first place or correct it.

Take a look around your work place, home, social setting. I mean really look. You'll see what I am talking about.

The saddest part is, the employee will probably never come to realize he was not holding his end of the highway and wasn't communicating as he should have with his boss despite the free toll tag. (Humans don't read minds you know! Despite the belief of some!)

The bigger the group, whether work or social, the more chance of there being one way streets. And as long as communication flows only one way, the road is ripe for misunderstandings, resentment, and imagined slights to ensue. All leading to eventual IMPLOSION!

People thrive on adversity - even if they have to make it up themselves! :P

So don't be a One Wat Street! Get out there and communicate!






Disclaimer: No boss's or employees were harmed in the making of this blog. Any similarities to actual persons or places was not intentional, and no such knowledge should be inferred from the above.:P




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