Some days I want to get away from it all and live alone in a tree house on an island. LOL
I think one of the biggest obstacles businesses (and specifically managers) face is communication, specifically – lack of communication. Why don’t people acknowledge communications, answer questions, or provide information when it is requested? It seems like we spend more time chasing people for down for answers to questions when a simple “I got it”, “I’m working on it”, or “I need a little more time” would simply take care of the situation. Instead, we send email after email, voice mail after voice mail, or worse – just end up with no answer and do not complete assignments or projects. The “just forget about it” attitude is frustrating.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am not talking about communicating everything to everyone – I understand that there are sensitive subjects and confidential information that needs to be kept close by upper management. I am simply talking about basic communication and providing timely answers to questions that affect performance of a task. Common courtesy is when someone sends you a request – you answer it, and second, to be proactive and let people know what is happening as it relates to topics that affect their performance.
Communication is one of the most critical aspects of leadership. Without it, managers can fail to gain commitment from employees, fail to achieve goals, and fail to develop rapport with team members. So how do we fix the problem?
- How about “Listening” to the question and answering the question? The first step in good communication is listening to what is being said/asked (and not just part of the question), letting the person finish speaking, and then making sure you understand what is being asked.
- How about “Facilitating” communication? Facilitating is more than listening, it is more that leading a conversation… it is a continuous cycle of three steps: Hearing what is said, integrating what is said into the the topic at hand, and saying something to move the conversation forward.
- How about “Questioning” communication? If you don’t understand the request – don’t just ignore it, ask questions until you understand what is being asked and are able to provide an answer. Read email trails and file notes and try not to ask the same questions over and over.
- How about “Directing” communication? Directing means giving directions clearly and unequivocally so people know exactly what to do and when to do the task.
- How about “Tone” of communication? Funny is one thing – hurtful or condescending is another. Make sure your tone of voice and tone of writing is respectful. Leaders should be respected, and leaders should respect their associates – no one should demean.
Communication is hard and takes effort. When there is good communication between colleagues and companies the result is a more pleasant environment in which to work, a more productive work setting in which everyone feels valued, and an environment where ideas are shared openly and relationships are characterized by trust.