My boss asked me to complete the report ASAP. So, I did. I completed it after I finished the other five things I was working on.

When I emailed the report to my boss, she asked me. “Wow! What took so long??”

There are two things wrong with that exchange of words.  One, I was demotivated because I worked very hard and didn’t feel like my hard work was enough for my boss (you can find help for that here: employee wellness and here motivation is declining.)

Two, our lack of understanding led to a lack of trust. I didn’t trust that she cared, and she didn’t trust me to work efficiently.

So, what does ASAP mean anyway? Yeah, yeah, I know that it stands for As Soon As Possible, but what does it really mean?  Because YOUR As Soon As Possible IS DIFFERENT than MY As Soon As Possible.

The real issue is that most people don’t fully communicate what they mean. Sure, it would be nice if everyone did, but that’s not the real world, is it? Unfortunately, communication is riddled with interactions like the one between my boss and me.

YOU can FIX it with QUESTIONS.

Underneath the surface of someone’s words lives a whole world of meaning we need to piece together. Think of it like a puzzle.  Each person’s world is filled with experiences, beliefs, thoughts, values, concerns, hopes, wants, needs, etc. that color his/her/their interpretations. We too often assume we know what someone means based on our own world, and then we prematurely move the conversation forward. This does not help communication folks, nor does it help trust.

Try probing questions like these ….

Are you getting the picture? That’s a real question by the way.

So, I challenge YOU … ask more questions!

Read more about How Listening to Understand Builds Trust.