In a recent conversation, a friend asked the following question: “In the military, directness in communication is something not only allowed, but encouraged.  Do you believe you could be more direct with someone in the military versus the civilian world?”

This question is more about effective communication than expressing an appreciation for the military command structure.  After all, communication is not just about following orders.

I explained to my friend that there is a substantial percentage of individuals, and not just in the military, which not only can handle the direct style of communication, but actually prefer it, and they can become frustrated with a non-direct approach.

For the others that may not prefer the direct approach, I pointed out that the military focuses significant resources toward team building and developing leaders in almost all training exercises.  The result is that the level of trust among team members is generally very high.  In addition to teaching tactical and technical skills, these exercises have varying degrees of stress that help reveal the true character of the men and women involved, and in my experience, the more the stress, the more the revelation.

As one’s character is revealed, we are able to determine if they are more, or less, trustworthy.  This is true in any environment, not just the military.  As the level of trust increases, so does the strength of the relationship and the more effective the communication as well.

This trust is also enhanced when you are intentional to communicate using an approach that works best for the recipients. This is particularly helpful in situations when time is limited and communications must be quick and concise, like the battlefield environment.  In those situations, you can be much more direct, and the trust in and strength of the relationship will accept the approach without misinterpretation.  It is this misinterpretation that often happens when there is not an established relationship of trust and the mind goes berserk trying to figure out what the true motives are and misses the real message being communicated.

This is Jason Walker sharing an Elite Team INSIGHT.