Activities In order to fulfill the requirements of the skill application, I will need to identify a person with whom I currently or have had a measure of discomfort in our relationship. For this reason, I have selected to have an interpersonal conversation with a co-worker named Mariah Cattaneo. She has recently been sad, quiet, and morose at work, which is out of character from her usual cheerful and outgoing personality. As a result, multiple co-workers have noticed and commented on the variations in her moods, although none of us knows the underlining cause. When her attitude was positive and reaffirming it provided a benefit to the customers and co-workers, in contrast her recent behavior is having a negative effect on the working environment.
Within the next two weeks, I will attempt to have a successful supportive communication conversation at work with Mariah. In order to increase my success rate, I set a goal to focus on three of the eight attributes. First, I will focus on being congruent. I will monitor my thoughts and actions and I will focus on providing an honest message. Second, I will focus on using validation. Since her mood has changed, she communicates less each day. When the conversation starts, it will be vital that I keep the conversation going; this attribute will help let her know that I am listening and that I care. Lastly, I will focus on being specific events and behaviors in our conversation. If I fail at incorporating this attribute, Mariah could become defensive. These three attributes will be my focus, but the other five attributes could be used depending on the direction of the conversation. Expect to Gain
The purpose of this skill application is to further understand and facilitate supportive communication. If I successfully implement the principles of supportive communication, I should be able to communicate honestly and accurately with Mariah without hurting our working relationship. The conversation should provide Mariah with an opportunity to discuss and diagnose her actions and feelings, with the hope of understanding the possible reasons for transformation behavior. If the supportive communication is successful, I should be able to offer advice to help her resolve the underlining issues that transformed her daily conduct. Measure Effective Performance
First, I will recognize I have been successful if our relationship is unhurt due to this conversation. If the two of us walk away from the conversation with the same or stronger friendship, I will call that a success. Second, it will be successful, if our discussion brings about progress and Mariah is able to identify and share her underlining cause(s) for the recent modifications. Third and finally, I will identify success if the conversation provides the opportunity to offer advice or support with the goal of eliminating her destructive behavior, and replacing it with her original joyful and outgoing personality. Specific Skill Used
On Thursday, November 5, 2012 after lunch, on the first floor of the library, I started a conversation with Mariah. In order to review the conversation later, I created a spreadsheet of the conversation, as I arrived home, with the goal of achieving a reasonable assurance of the facts of the conversation. The recreation of the conversation, numbered, and categorized can be found in Appendix A. The purpose of this conversation was to council Mariah about her behavior, while helping her identify the reason(s) for the change, while using as many attributes of supportive communication principles as needed. As mentioned above, the first attribute I planned to incorporate into the conversation was to be congruent. While planning the conversation, I never thought I would make statement five.
While this statement was congruent, it was unexpected. In the end, it was the turning point in the conversation. It was at this stage that, after a little hesitation, Mariah trusted me enough to tell me the first reason that her behavior has changed. If I did not truly have these feelings and if it did not show in my body language, she would not have shared her troubles. Other steps where I was congruent were steps twelve and sixteen. Being congruent during this conversation was natural. When the subject turned into losing someone close, I had enough experience with death to make my sympathy truthful in both body and spirit. The second attribute I planned to incorporate into the conversation was to use validation.
Mariah used validation in step four, while I used validation in steps twelve, eighteen, twenty-one, and twenty-seven. Before the conversation began, it was important to incorporate validation into the conversation in order to get her talking. During the conversation, it because important to keep Mariah talking. She was hurting and at times talking helps people during grief. The lastly, I planned to focus on being specific during the conversation. In step three of the conversation, I used the word everyone, which was global instead of specific. While unplanned, in this case, it helped to go the extreme because it was a positive message. Had the message been negative, the conversation could have turned defensive. Step eight is another example where I used a global message instead of being specific. Success
The first and foremost sign of success was proof of our strengthened relationship. Since the initial conversation, Mariah has broached the subject of her grandfather a few times. While before this conversation, she kept her grief to herself, now she is working through her grief by sharing stories of her grandfather. The second sign of success, occurred when Mariah identified two reasons that her mood as altered recently.
In addition, it was important that she understand that her recent change in behavior had been noticed. During a later conversation, I told her I noticed an improvement and that she seems happier, she expressed pleasure in my evaluation but expressed concern that the others had not noticed a change. The third and final success developed when I was able to provide support to Mariah as she described her situation. She did not need to move to the advising stage, she needed me to keep the conversation within the probing and reflecting stage. Improvement
First, I could have improved by using eliminating the global words like, everyone, always, and one and only time. Since the class lecture, I have noticed how often I used the extreme words. Next, I would not have evaluated her in step three and step twenty-seven. Although she did not take these evaluations the wrong way, they were not the product of using supportive communication skills. Learned or Gained
I was able to learn that Mariah was feeling grief. Learning that her grandfather died and they have a service without us, her co-workings being aware that he was sick was the greatest surprise. Even her best friend Juletta and the supervisor Carol were unaware of Mariah’s situation.
A few of us co-workers have had conversations about Mariah’s mood, everyone thought she was offended by a few things that have happened at work. The actual reasons for her mood change were a surprise to the group. It was important that Mariah tells us why she was feeling down. While she can work on trying to change her moods at work, providing her co-workers with the knowledge of her situation has provided her with time and understanding during her time of grief. Each of us works on being supportive and patient with Mariah.
Appendix A Table 1 Conversation November 5, 2015 1JenniferMariah are you alright?Probing 2MariahYes, I am fine.Incongruent 3JenniferI am concerned about you. You don’t seem yourself?Probing, Evaluative 4MariahI have a lot on my plate.Validating 5JenniferYou are the amazing one everyone is trying to become friends with!Congruent and Descriptive 6 PausePause 7MariahIs that how you see me?Validating 8JenniferYes, I wish I were more like you. You always include others and make people feel happy and included.Conjunctive, Descriptive 9MariahThanksValidating 10 Pause, waitingPause 11MariahMy grandfather passed away and we had his service this weekend?Problem-oriented, and Conjunctive 12JenniferI am sorry it is hard to lose those we love.Congruent, Validating 13MariahHe moved here earlier this year to get close to us, and then he was diagnosed with cancer. He had cancer on his lung not in his lung. The cancer then moved to his blood stream until there was cancer in his brain.
The doctor gave him two months to liveDescriptive 14JenniferIs this your mother’s parents or your fathers?Probing 15MariahMy mothers, even though they lived in Arizona we remained close after me, my mom, and my brother moved here. Since they moved here earlier this year, we have become closer.Descriptive 16JenniferI sorry I did not even know that your grandfather was sick. How was the service?Congruent, Probing 17MariahIt has been too hard to talk about. Even though we had warning, we knew it would happen fast and he did not want a regular service. He just wanted us to be together as a family.Conjunctive, Descriptive 18JenniferThat is what we did with my own grandfather. When he died, we had a big dinner at home with a lot of our family.Descriptive, Validating 19JenniferWas your brother able to come home for the service?Probing 20MariahYes, but it was hard to see him break down. I don’t remember ever seeing him cry.Congruent, Descriptive 21JenniferIt is hard to see men cry. I think my father’s funeral, was the one and only time I saw my brother breakdown.
I was already emotional, but whenever I would see him get emotional I would just lose it. Validating 22MariahEven now when I think about it, I get too emotional. This was the first close relative that I have lost. It made me think about my mom’s health and because of her medical problems; I realized I could lose her early.Descriptive 23JenniferThinking of losing a parent is scary; you have had a lot to deal with lately. Is there anything I can do to help?Conjunctive, Probing 24MariahNo, I just need time, this has been a stressful semester, and now I am failing a class?Disjunctive, Problem-oriented 25JenniferIs it chemistry?Probing
26MariahYes, I work so hard, I study for the tests, and I think I am ready, I know this, but each time I get a horrible score. Conjunctive 27JenniferI think you are brave just to take chemistry. I do not know anything about chemistry, it is my daughters favorite subject, but science makes my head hurt.Validating, Evaluating 28MariahLaugh