Recently a situation requiring sensitivity and finesse, was not handled thus even though we had recently covered the topic with our middle managers. When it blew up and explanations as to how and why were requested, the response from the manager involved was “I told my team”, his clear implication being that he had done his job as Team Leader by simply passing the information on and thus the onus was not on him.

I beg to differ!  The job of a manager/leader is much more complex. Effective communication does not stop at your mouth. That is just creating vibrations in the air. You must not only speak words, but you must also ensure that you have created an appropriate understanding in the mind of your desired recipient and beyond that you must engender buy-in, commitment, and follow-through. The meaning of any communication can be found in the response you receive.

The biggest problem with communication is the illusion it has just occurred. Many techniques exist to enhance communication, the simplest is asking to have your message repeated back to you; the next level being to ask them to illustrate how they might apply or use the knowledge. Using recent events as examples and role playing are other ways to confirm that communication has occurred, and missions and minds are aligned.

Once a leader has clarified standards and expectations and established accountability checkpoints, the final way a leader confirms clarity of communication and commitment is by rigorously and religiously inspecting for what they expect. The best leaders never rely exclusively on 3rd hand reports, they regularly get out into the field, where the rubber meets the road, talk to front line workers, converse with Customers, get past filters, observe directly.

Closing Quotes:

“There is no communication that is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.” – Luigina Sgarro

“He seemed to think we were on the same page. I wasn’t even sure we were reading the same book.” – Jodie Andrefski

“All too often, new hires have a different expectation of their job and responsibilities than the organization does.” – Jay Samit

“The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say because they were too obvious.” – André Gide

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert McCloskey

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier