NVC (Nonviolent Communication), also referred to as Compassionate Communication or Collaborative Communication, is a method in which all parties interact in the spirit of mutual respect and compassion, attributing equal value to the needs of each person involved.

NVC main components are:

  • observation of facts,
  • feelings,
  • needs,
  • request.

All human activity is driven by needs; behavior is the vehicle of needs; feelings, in turn, indicate whether or not the needs have been satisfied. The essence of the method, created by Marshall Rosenberg, is therefore the ability to recognize our feelings and needs, and communicating them with clarity.  In this model the exchange of information focuses on what we really want to achieve, whereas reproaching, typical for the process of automatic communication, is left aside.

compassion

Another key ingredient of NVC is compassion – the intent to try to understand and follow other people’s feelings and needs, approaching them without any bias or judgement. Every human being is equipped with certain skills and resources which, when hidden, may be discovered through compassion.

As mentioned earlier, all human needs are equal and they should be equally valued. Taking it a step further, whatever the differences, all human needs around the world are pretty much the same: respect, acceptance, understanding, identity and many more. Therefore, a platform for mutual understanding may be built mainly on those universal needs.

NVC impacts interactions on three  levels: within self, between self and others, and within larger groups – e.g. society. It may be used as a tool for personal development, relationships and social change. However, with its highly positive effects, NVC has been adopted to other spheres of life, such as parenting, education, mediation, psychology, therapy, healthcare and also organizational and business setting.

How can NVC contribute to a friendly and balanced workplace?

caring

First of all, taking into consideration the assumption that human needs are universal, we might expect that everyone will be ready to cooperate and pull their weight if their needs have been noticed and heard.

Secondly, when introduced to company culture on a system-wide basis, NVC allows improvements to internal relationships and communication. It supports collaboration between departments, which translates into measurable financial results.

Thirdly, NVC provides support in conflict resolution, leading to productive outcomes. Looking from a slightly different angle, it helps to avoid conflict, in the first place.

Last, but not least, through the use of positive language NVC generally promotes positive attitudes within the work environment, which contributes to higher motivation and engagement among employees; increased productivity follows as a side-effect.

Employee market motivates employers to review what they have got to offer; it all started with fancy offices, nap rooms, bean bags and fresh fruit, then more perks came. Next, it became all about the experience, so employer branding emerged. It seems that now the labour market is calling for a very simple yet unspecified measure – creating a positive working environment. Looking at the big picture, this is where NVC comes into that picture.

Glossary:

  • compassion – współodczuwanie, współczucie, empatia
  • reproaching – obwinianie kogoś, wyrzucanie komuś czegoś
  • bias – uprzedzenie, stronniczość
  • to pull one’s weight – przykładać się do pracy, dokładać wszelkich starań
  • bean bags – pufy, poduchy do siedzenia

Exercise:

Decide if the sentences below are True (T) or False (F).

According to NVC assumptions, all values are equal.
There is a strong link between our behavior, feelings and needs.
People have different needs, depending on their status.
NVC has been applied in various areas of life.
NVC contributes to better financial results.