Diffusing Misunderstandings

Have you ever asked:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Why can’t we do it another way?
  • Why didn’t they ask me?
  • Why?
  • Why?
  • Why?

Responding to the questions above requires an understanding of organizational growth, mission, values, and vision.

Effective communication should not only be a downstream process, but employees should be able to channel concerns upward without fear of retaliation.  Both parties should expect support from each other.  Organizational differences may lead to confrontation and deter employee performance.  Upward, downward, and lateral communication is necessary to ensure organizational members understand personal roles in pursuing business objectives.

Employer/Employee Expectations

Employers and employees have roles and expectations during business transactions. Employees perform a job and expect to get paid.  Employers expect employees to perform to get paid.  In accomplishing job duties, employees need certain resources to conduct his or her job and expect managers to provide the assets.  Managers expect employees not to abuse provided resources.  As an example, if you were hired as an administrative assistant to answer telephones, take memorandums, send and receive correspondence, or set up conference meetings, you would expect the resources to be in place.  Being hired to conduct those assigned duties, one may expect that the employer provide the telephones, computers, and necessary equipment to meet organizational objectives.  The employer also expects the employee not to abuse the resources and to use it appropriately for its intended purpose.  Understanding that we could go back and forth, organizational members should agree that both employers and employees must be held accountable for their actions.  All employees should act according to established guidelines, policies, and maintain organizational goals, mission, values, and vision top priority.

Despite the circumstances, ensuring personnel involved understand the purpose of the policy or possess a clear understanding of how to safely pursue the task is significant in reducing misunderstandings.   In my 2011 book, ¿Uncertainties? And Reasoning, I offered the following:

Some situations may hinder progress and seemingly trap human bodies between a rock and a hard place. Circumstances may cause anxiety, desperation, frustration, while helplessly watching things spinning out of control. No personal decision is good enough; no wise judgment makes any difference.

Diffusing arguments can be achieved by identifying and uprooting the cause of the problem.

Providing the Solution

Leaders can conduct brainstorming sessions to discover a better process or an alternative method for a more effective solution. Reviewing the history and current procedure of existing practices is necessary to benchmark ideas.  Choosing the best learned process opens avenues to improve organizational procedures.  Creating process charts and visualizing the steps in the problem may highlight areas for process improvement.

Calmly taking a moment to determine the cause for the unproductive feelings and respecting employee input allows managers to facilitate discussions and determine the best-course of action.  Empowering employees and reassuring them that he or she is indeed part of the process working toward the ‘big’ picture increases chances of commitment and loyalty.  Taking employee’s ideas and implementing them, if feasible, equips them with a feeling of appreciation, belonging, and a determination to pursue organizational objectives.  The employee has an additional vested interest in the project outcome.  Satisfying the needs of the company and its members without risking moral values and personal safety is normally the best route to take to arrive at a neutral plateau of understanding.



2 Responses to “Diffusing Misunderstandings”
  1. Onyxx says:

    These are good points, particularly for Christian based organizations. Sometimes, we forget to seek God when we don’t understand the direction or path he is opening before us. Many Christians cite fear as the main problem when God introduces something new or different. This is accompanied by suspicion which gives sway to ego and escalates to manipulation and confusion.

    1 Corinthians 14:33 states “God is not the author of confusion.” However, sometimes our fears create confusion for both employers and employees, in the service of God. This is because we do not totally trust that God is in control. We think we need to help God. It is important that we completely trust He will guide us and protect his purpose, even from us when we misstep.

    • Caroline Savage says:


      Thank you for your comments. I agree that we, as Christians, sometimes may be preoccupied accomplishing so many tasks, we may forget to seek God’s will for us. Seeking God’s perfect will for our lives is a process we must endure and by keeping Him first we will succeed. The points you make pertaining to some Christians citing fear as an issue (pertaining to introducing something new) which leads to suspicion, ego, manipulation, and confusion occurs at times. These are signs that we are not in control (we never are) and should take a step back and turn the situation over to God.

      You cited in 1 Corinthians 14:33 “God is not the author of confusion,” we must also remember that “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV). All the confusion, manipulation that you mentioned does not have any place among people doing God’s will. In doing God’s work “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). Believing that our Lord is leading the way, let Him lead the way!


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