Being a teammate can be hard sometimes
Communication doesn’t need to just happen on the track. Roller derby leagues are organizations. They need to function efficiently, put on events and raise money. However, when you put a group of folk together on a regular basis, tensions can flare. It can be frustrating at times, but that is a simple fact of combining people of differing interpersonal skills (and lets face it…tact).
The not so secret ingredient for keeping tensions low within a league is respectful communication. With emphasis on “respectful”. I’ve seen many a conversation explode due to one disrespectful or inflammatory comment added after hurt feelings. Communication is hard, but important.
There are a lot more leagues choosing to handle the majority of league communication on a forum or private Facebook page. This is fine, but there’s something about written communication behind a computer screen. It somehow makes people forget that they are talking to another human with feelings. We’ve all seen it. If you scroll through social media you’re bound to find at least one post that is a dumpster fire of emotions riddled with popcorn eating memes. It’s become the norm on social media today. However, it shouldn’t become the norm within our leagues and derby community.
So what defines effective communication?
The first tidbit for effective communication is listening. I mean truly listening. You ever hear an inflammatory 5 second sound bite on the news and then hear the rest of the story and realize it was blown way out of proportion or miss represented the person who made the comment? Now think of a moment when someone has said something that struck a nerve with you. In that very moment you might have started formulating a sharp response to that comment. However, while you’re conjuring up the response the person is still talking and you’re missing all of the other points that they are making. Perhaps they are giving you insight into why they think a certain way. Give the person a chance to finish their statement, truly listen to each and every word then respond with empathy.
Yes, empathy is tidbit number two. Let’s be real, we don’t know everything there is to know about all of our teammates (nor do we probably want to). We don’t know their upbringing, their current state of affairs, their fears, or their desires. All of these things and more play a role in why they say the things they do. Set aside your emotions and preconceived notions about the person and communicate with an open and understanding mind.
Perception rains supreme
Keep in mind, that we ALL want what is best for our leagues. However, what’s best for the league can differ from person to person because we all see things through a different lens. We have different life experiences that shape our leadership and decision making styles. It’s okay and very normal to disagree. Just remember that perception is everything; doesn’t matter what you “meant” by your words or actions. What matters is how those words and actions are “perceived” by others.
How does your league handle interpersonal issues?
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