Non-Violent Communication at Work: What We Learned in Our August 2021 Discover You Events
Into even the most ideal workplaces, a little conflict will come. We’re only human. Here’s a framework that will help us communicate with honesty and clarity—and get our needs met!
The Global View
- Project Next Generation launched this month, thanks to our Organizational Development Team. This online class is designed to help working parents, who now find themselves having to juggle their workloads while supporting school-age children who can’t attend in-person classes yet.
- We learned about the non-violent communication framework in the training segment that our Founder Matt Kesby led during our Discover You events for August 2021.
- This month, our CEO Award went to Joseph Torres, a Quality Coordinator and Team Lead for one of our U.S. clients, a corporate housing and property management business that serves more than 30 cities. His client praised Joseph for being so sharp, thinking ahead, problem-solving like a pro, and leading his team in a supportive manner.
“Listen to me.” Is there a human relationship where these three words have never been said?
Even if you work with Nobel Peace Prize winners, at some point you would probably disagree over something and these words (this familiar and utterly human demand) would be uttered.
The potential for conflict exists in all workplaces—yes, even the ones where people are genuinely committed to sustaining a kind and caring culture. In 2020, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) listed no fewer than 10 potential causes of conflict at work.
As part of our August 2021 Discover You events, we were introduced to the work of the American mediator and psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (1934-2015).
When he was 9, Marshall and his family had just moved to Detroit in Michigan when racial tensions between whites and African Americans provoked violence in their neighborhood. For three days, his family could not even leave the house to avoid getting harmed in the race riots.
“When the race riot ended and school began, I discovered that a name could be as dangerous as any skin color,” Dr. Rosenberg later wrote. When attendance was called and the children’s names were read out loud, two of his classmates humiliated him for being a Jew. Worse, they waited for him after school that day and beat him up.
These experiences compelled Dr. Rosenberg to devote his professional life to exploring how people could stay compassionate in the most difficult conditions.
“I developed Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a way to train my attention—to shine the light of consciousness—on places that have the potential to yield what I am seeking. What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.”
His book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life first came out in 1999 and was updated in 2015, just a few weeks before Dr. Rosenberg’s death.
The framework he explains in it ties in nicely with Habits 4 to 6 (Think Win-Win; Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood; Synergize) of Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the resources that shape our culture within GoTeam.
How Does Nonviolent Communication Work?
To communicate compassionately with ourselves and others, Dr. Rosenberg recommends that we avoid life-alienating forms of communication. These include:
Moralistic Judgments: believing that people are wrong or bad because the way they act does not align with our values. This can take the form of blame, insults, put-downs, labels, criticism, comparisons, and diagnoses. (“The problem with you is that you’re needy and dependent.”)
Making Comparisons: a surefire way to make ourselves and others miserable. This will be familiar to those of us who, in a moment of irritation, were compared with siblings or cousins or other people’s children who had done something our parents wanted us to do. (“Why do you never clean up your room like your second cousin Juana does?”)
Denial of Responsibility: forgetting or refusing to accept that “we are each responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and actions.” To change this, we can begin by replacing “I have to” with “I choose to.” Dr. Rosenberg’s advice is worth repeating: “We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.”
You could tell from the way our breakout sessions proceeded that this subject had struck a chord.
For the exercise, we each recalled a time, whether at work or in our personal relationships, when someone did something that eroded our sense of well-being.
The challenge was to express all four components honestly—and then (here comes the tricky part) to receive the other party’s message with empathy, bearing the same four components in mind.
“When you do (name a behavior), I feel (name your feeling) because I want (identify what you desire) and I would appreciate it if you would be willing to (state your request).”
When you asked me the same question repeatedly, I felt impatient because I want to be heard and understood. How would it be for you if you listen to me more fully?
When you failed to do what you promised to do last week, I felt disappointed because I needed reassurance. How would it be for you if you fulfilled your promise next time?
It was not an easy exercise—some of us may still be learning to identify and name what we feel—but it was a helpful one.
Some participants remarked at the end of the breakout session that they wished there had been more time to share some examples of putting nonviolent communication to work.
Project Next Generation
We’re committed to learning within the GoTeam tribe, DISCOVERY being one of our core values.
It’s not just technical skills we focus on. In events like Discover You and Exceed Institute, our leaders provide us with the resources and support so we can develop other skills, such as communicating more effectively.
This month, we launched two programs that will cultivate this superpower in ourselves and our children: our new Employee Assistance Program and Project Next Generation.
Employee Assistance Program: Our current HMO plan includes mental wellness consultations up to P5,000 within the coverage year.
On top of this, GoTeam has invested in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that covers all team members and up to four family members each. This entitles us to a free counseling program that will help us face parenting challenges, relationship issues, anxiety, grief, and other personal issues.
You know how sometimes, you need to get something off your chest yet you also want to vent to your loved ones? This program can help. Professional counselors can give you some tools and exercises to help you make sense of and overcome challenges. Sometimes, just by listening to you with empathy and kindness, they make your burdens more manageable.
The EAP also provides legal consultations, should we need advice in dealing with family law, estate planning, or landlord-tenant relations. And there are financial planning consultations with trained counselors to help us navigate household budgeting and other financial planning needs.
Our EAP partner is ComPsych, which has served the Philippine teams of such corporations as AECOM, AIG, Amazon, Apple, McAfee Security, and Uber.
Project Next Generation: We also launched this month an online class to support our hardworking parents within the tribe.
Matt Kesby, GoTeam Founder and CTO, had gone out for some burgers with AVP Rob Bramwell, Operations Manager Michael Carreon, and Head Results Coach Carlos Enriquez when their conversation turned to the challenges that their children were having now that their classes were mostly or fully online.
Despite their teachers’ best efforts, children missed the social and emotional connections they used to form when they had in-person classes before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, their parents found themselves taking on the challenges of being a teaching assistant, IT support, and canteen supervisor to their children who were attending online classes at home—all on top of their everyday duties and challenges at work.
What if there was a way that both children and their parents could get some badly needed support?
With Matt’s guidance, our phenomenal Organizational Development (OD) team put together the course outline and content, all designed to give Project Next Generation’s participants life skills that will help them win at school and in life.
The classes are aligned with GoTeam’s core values and will focus on skills that aren’t taught extensively in their regular classes. For instance, there’s a session on gratitude that will be all about ways they can let their parents or siblings know how grateful they are to them. Appreciation for mom and dad, plus some support from professional teachers? We have a good feeling this is going to be a big win.
Our Values Awardees for August 2021
One of our awardees for August received praise from his client for leading his team in such a positive and supportive manner—and this was before we even learned about nonviolent communication!
By recognizing team members who show our core values at work, we remind ourselves that our values are more than the beautiful ideals we talk about. They live and breathe in our daily interactions with our clients and team members.
CARE: Christopher works as a Customer Service Administrator with a U.S. client that provides electrical services and smart tech to both residential and commercial buildings.
Christopher won the Care Value Award in just his third month with the tribe. He works during the night shift with Results Coach Monico’s team.
“He is very respectful to teammates and wants to continuously improve relationships with our customers,” his client Anja G. wrote. “He always has a positive attitude.”
What’s this award about? We care deeply about the success of our clients, knowing that their success is our long-term success. We care about our workmates and treat everyone as we would wish to be treated.
DRIVE: Shandy works as a Customer Service Support Specialist for a chain of urgent care and testing providers on the U.S. West Coast.
“Shandy shows great drive by becoming No. 1 both in our onshore and offshore teams on quality and number of calls taken,” wrote her client Lindsay R. “Never have I received any complaints or problems from her. She is always proactive in asking questions and helping everyone.”
Shandy won the Drive Value Award in just her first two months with her client and GoTeam. She works during the night shift with Results Coach Klevin’s team.
As the winner of the Drive Value Award for August 2021, Shandy automatically qualifies as a finalist for the 2021 GoTeam Awards Night, when individuals and teams who best show our core values at work are recognized.
This award honors our team members’ internal drive to succeed and help our clients exceed their goals.
DISCOVERY: Jammie works as a Social Media Marketing Expert with an Australian full-service design and digital growth agency.
“Jammie is always trying to learn and grow within her area of responsibility and to discover new and improved ways of doing things.“
Her client Ben S. wrote this before Jammie had completed her fourth month with the tribe.
Her commitment to discovery is an essential quality in her line of work, where new tools and ways of doing things surface often. Jammie works with her client’s talented team in GoTeam that includes a Digital Content Writer, Associate Management Consultant, and SEO Specialist.
What’s this award about? We possess a thirst for discovering new skills and commit ourselves to extended learning. It helps that we’re surrounded by driven and equally committed team members with whom we can learn and grow.
FIND A WAY: Mia Angelica works as an Admin Assistant for an Australian consulting business that helps health and fitness studios lift their strategies, operations, and tech.
“Mia exemplifies all of your values. Over the last 12 months especially, Mia has really settled into her role. She has undoubtedly gone above and beyond to problem-solve and resolve any client issue that may have arisen,” wrote Mia’s client Danielle F.
“She has preempted problems that may have occurred in the future had we not addressed a change in the process sooner. Mia is a valued member of our team.”
Mia won the Find a Way Value Award shortly after celebrating her second year with GoTeam. At the time she won this award, she was with Results Coach Nathan’s team during the day shift.
What’s this award about? We take responsibility, accountability, and ownership of our actions. We embrace challenges and commit to finding resolutions to any obstacle.
EXECUTE: Blaire works as an Accounts Clerk for Australia’s leading independent provider of roasted coffee beans and cafe equipment.
“I am extremely pleased with Blaire, and he is a perfect fit for our team. I am very impressed by how professional Blaire is, along with his work ethic,” his client Linda C. wrote.
“He has done exceedingly well, picked up our systems, and certainly added value to our team.”
Blaire won the Execute Value Award within his eighth month with his client and the GoTeam tribe. His client recently expanded her team within GoTeam, all of them smart and hardworking accounting professionals.
This award honors a team member’s ability to focus and execute to get the job done. We believe in measurements and creating winnable games across all the work we do.
HUMILITY: Al Gregory works as a Business Development Agent for a U.S. client that leads a network of car dealerships.
Al won the Humility Value Award in his fifth month with his client and GoTeam.
“I am impressed by how humble you are in receiving feedback and how you respond to them with swift action and corrections,” wrote Results Coach Benson.
“You are always willing to help others on your team even when you need help, too. You show up to work prepared and excited. I appreciate your effort to always be humble.”
What’s this award about? We are open to listening to others. We seek the third alternative. It may not be my way or your way; together we commit to finding the best way.
GRATITUDE: William works as part of the Accounting Staff for a U.S. corporate housing provider that serves more than 30 cities.
It was also Results Coach Benson who nominated William for this award during his ninth month with this client and the GoTeam tribe.
“William, I appreciate how you express being grateful to have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” he wrote.
“You are consistent in your grateful attitude in never forgetting to appreciate the assistance you get both from your client and the GoTeam Internal Team.”
We show gratitude for everything our clients, team members, and mentors help us with, to exceed in our work. We do not take anything for granted.
We are grateful, too, for the trust that William’s client continues to show in their GoTeam team. That team has grown fast and now includes accounting specialists, B2B account coordinators, quality associates, contract coordinators, and financial analysts.
CEO AWARD: Joseph works as a Quality Coordinator and Team Lead for a property management and corporate housing group in the U.S.
“Joseph, you are an absolute superstar. You understand our business better than many other employees and execute so quickly and with such high quality that’s incomparable to anyone I’ve ever worked with,” wrote his client Clara K.
Thanks to a wonderful coincidence, Joseph won the coveted CEO Award in the same month he celebrated his second GoTeam anniversary.
“You are so sharp, always thinking ahead, problem-solving on the spot, picking up others’ slack, and helping to manage our team in such a positive and supportive manner. And I am not the only one who thinks this of you! Everyone you work with feels the same way, and you should be incredibly proud of your performance. To say that I trust you so much that you probably don’t need a manager is an understatement.”
The individuals or teams who win the CEO Award are those who show a combination (if not all) of our core values at work: Care. Drive. Discovery. Execute. Find a Way. Humility. Gratitude.
Not always an easy feat, yet one that’s always beautiful to witness and celebrate.
“We all pay dearly when people respond to our values and needs not out of a desire to give from the heart, but out of fear, guilt, or shame. Sooner or later, we will experience the consequences of diminished goodwill on the part of those who comply with our values out of a sense of either external or internal coercion. They, too, pay emotionally, for they are likely to feel resentment and decreased self-esteem when they respond to us out of fear, guilt, or shame. Furthermore, each time others associate us in their minds with any of those feelings, the likelihood of their responding compassionately to our needs and values in the future decreases.”
Marshall B. Rosenberg
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (2015)
If you’ve been looking for a workplace where your ability to communicate and lead will be honed, we’d love to meet you! We’re looking for team players in accounting, construction & engineering, customer success, marketing, project management, recruitment, sales, software development, and supply chain management. Come join our tribe!
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