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Chapter 24. Getting Less Difficult—Words... > How People Come to See You as Diffic... - Pg. 257

Getting Less Difficult--Words and Deeds 257 What Georgette needs to do is change her behavior so that her words and promises are more congruent with the results or actions she creates. She doesn't need to change her personality or become some clinically depressed, cynical person. All she needs to do is see the problem of in- congruity between words and action and bring the two in line. Here's another example. Throughout the year John, a manager, communicates about the performance of his subordi- nates. He's actually good at it and tries to praise his employees whenever possible and focus on the positives. That works really well until John has to do the formal written performance appraisals. At the individual meetings, John finds all sorts of negative things to talk about, and these get entered into the formal personnel file. Maybe it's because someone told him that not everyone can be evaluated quite so high. Who knows why? However, the bottom line is that his words and actions are inconsistent over time. Through the year he talks positive. Then bang-- at the end of the year the other shoe drops. From the Manager's Desk A lot of the time, incongruent or inconsistent behavior comes from the best of intentions. You want to help. You want to make life easier. So you aren't always realistic in what you say. You arent't always realistic in what you can achieve. But you need to get in the habit of being more realistic, or you won't be trusted. How is John going to be perceived by his staff? As someone not worthy of trust? As a tricky SOB? As a difficult person? One final example that's somewhat different. Maury is not really good at expressing his feelings to people. He's OK with positive feelings, although most people wouldn't consider Maury as a "gushin' kinda guy." Where he's really bad is when he's angry or frustrated. He's learned to avoid the verbal expression of anger and frus- tration. Not a bad word comes out of his mouth even when he's really angry. The bad part is that his words and his body language are completely out of whack. While he can control what he says, he just isn't so good at controlling how he says it or how he looks when he says it. In other words, his tone of voice and physical appearance make it clear to anyone but a computer that he's angry. Red face, tense muscles, choked tone of voice--nobody is fooled by the verbal control. This is an incongruence or mismatch between what he says and how he says it. When there is mismatch between the two, what do you think people believe? The words or the appearance and body language? It's the body language. So people know when Maury is angry. They see his denial of being angry as problematic when everyone on the planet except Maury knows it. That worries people. How can you trust a guy who never admits to being angry? How can you work out problems because you don't know where things stand. So this mismatch of words and body language makes Maury appear difficult and just a little dangerous.