I have a part-time job working at a Domestic Violence shelter on weekends. My supervisor is a nice young lady, who exasperates me to no end. Why? She will ask me to do something or tell me something, which I feel I understand. Then when I do the task or report where she asked me to go, it's all wrong!
An example is, last Sunday she called me and asked if I would work on Wednesday from 6:00pm until 10:00pm because she and the Client Advocate were transporting the clients to a workshop. She told me she would call me back if the plans changed.
On Wednesday, I arrived at the shelter at 5:50pm and the Client Advocate looked at me strangely and asked why I was there. I told her our supervisor had asked me on Sunday to come and cover the shelter while they went to a workshop. She said, "Oh, she didn't call you and tell you it was cancelled?" That question set up a communication climate that was defensive (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009). I asked was that a rhetorical question, since obviously I had reported to work. It takes 45 min. to drive to the shelter from my home and I was upset that I had made a trip, used my gas and changed my plans for nothing. I felt this was an unproductive conflict as there was a negative impact (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009) with my use of sarcasm.
One strategy I have used, is the challenging strategy (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009). I am not confrontational and this strategy is usually not my first choice, but my attitude had provoked that communication climate (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009). This strategy works when you want the person you are communicating with to know what they did or didn't do has caused you to have your current attitude. I went to my supervisor's office and asked her why she didn't call me to let me know the outing was cancelled. She looked at me and asked why I didn't call to find out if she still needed me to come to the shelter. I reminded her that she had promised to call me if the plans changed but that was fine and I started to leave. I was using the escapist strategy (O'Hair &Wiemann 2009). I used this strategy to avoid anymore direct conflict.
One communication channel (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009) I will use with my supervisor, is email. I told her I would email her, as a compromise (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009) so we would both know the plans. If we had used that electronic channel (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009), this conflict would not have occurred.
O'Hair, D. & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real Communication An Introduction Boston, MA: