The Underestimated Way to Remain Human: Non-violent Communication

hipiThe non-violent communication is a language and a way of communication that strengthen our ability to remain human, no matter of a challenging situation that might appear. The pioneer of the NVC, Marshall B. Rosenberg, has written the bestselling book “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life”. These methods are used for years around the world to resolve the most difficult conflicts such are the war conflicts and hostage situations. I hope we don’t have these dimensions in our agile teams…

The non-violent communication (NVC) might improve our lives. We are used to the verbal ‘aggression’ usually imposed by the position, an authority or power of the higher ranking, but it is not uncommon among the peers too. One example comes from the daily standup meeting in one of our teams:  A younger person was struggling with the unit tests execution for 2 days in a row. She was trying to dig out by herself was it a problem in the code or the tests themselves. She started to elaborate the details to the colleagues in the team. Being not the time and place at the daily meeting to go into details, the team facilitator interrupted the discussion by saying: “Can someone more competent finally do this?
Is this respect and does it help to improve the situation or motivate the team to do the work!?

When participating in one of the seminars, I learned this::

NVC is a lLanguage of Compassion Rather Than Domination

NVC is focusing attention

NVC is managing existing conflicts and preventing new

NVC is not about being nice; it’s about being real.


The NVC is “formalized” via 4 routines:

Observation -
observing the situation, what others are doing or saying. Articulating the situation without adding judgments: “When I (see, hear, remember, imagine, etc.)

we state how we feel when we observe this action: “I feel…

we express our needs related to the feelings we have identified: “…because I need…

we clearly say what we want from the other person to enrich our lives or make life more wonderful for us without demanding by saying e.g. “Would you be willing to…

It takes practice, as for everything, but in few cases it really worked well for me, even though I needed to prepare the wording scenario well in advance…



Judging and classifying people promotes ‘violence’ and I am sure we don’t need that.