I thought you said …


“I thought you said” is the beginning of many misunderstandings. If not nipped in the bud these four words will destroy the wonder of a relationship between leader and follower, teammates, couples and families.

Many a husband has dutifully gone to the store to pick of milk, eggs, and bread for his wife and returned with a bag or two of things and no eggs, bread, or milk. As he brings in the bags of “thought you said” stuff, she rolls her eyes or begins to let him know he did not get the correct items.

The work place is full of the “I thought you said” misunderstandings. Many volunteer groups have this same “I thought you said” condition. When frustration, superiority complexes, and conflict prevails then there is “I thought you said” they’re too.

Through the years of leadership I have learned three things that insulate against the “I thought you said” syndrome.

First, be as precise and clear using as few words as you possible can when giving a directive.

Second, when possible have the one receiving the directive from you repeat it back to you. This helps to ensure that both of you are on the same page as to what needs to be done and when it must be completed.

Third, understand whom you are giving the directive to. You have three types of people you are leading and communicating to. The visual must see it; the auditory person must hear it, and the kinesthetic must feel it.

Here is a little tidbit; rather than becoming out of sorts with the person who says to you “I thought you said” become a learner and view this as an opportunity for personal growth. When we allow these types of situations to educate us rather than exasperate us, we become our best.

Plan to be with me at Thought-Filled Tuesday evenings at 7:00pm. I host an hour-long phone conference/training that is focused on each of us becoming our best selves. You dial 805.399.1000 at 7:00pm (California time) and when prompted use 593915 as your participation code.

If you have any questions please reach out to me at 209.732.6288 or email at wisdom@mattupton.net. You also follow me on Twitter at Mattuforward or enter the conversation at #askmattupton on Twitter