Top 7 Communication Mistakes Leaders Make That Kill Trust In The Workplace
By Skip Weisman
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Ask employees in most any organization what needs to be improved and one answer, communication, is guaranteed to always show up in the top three. The challenge with fixing communication in these situations is defining exactly how communication is a problem.
There can be many ways to define organizational communication problems, one way is to focus on interpersonal communication. These seven interpersonal communication mistakes kill motivation, morale and trust in too many workplaces.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Specificity
This causes people on the receiving end of a communication to have to mind-read or guess as to what is being requested of them. Details are left out or are at best, vague. The recipient, for many reasons, fails to ask follow up questions to get specifics and have to figure it out on their own.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Focus on Desirable Behaviors
People are great at articulating what they donít want or what they donít want others to do, but have challenges identifying the behaviors they prefer instead. Where your focus goes, grows. As such, people are getting more of what they donít want because they continue to focus on it. Identify the specific desirable behaviors and articulate those directly to the person whose behavior you need changed.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Directness
This is where people in organizations go behind the backs of their co-workers, peers, bosses and subordinates with water cooler gossip. Another example is the leader who tries to fix a problem that should be addressed to one person but calls a team meeting to offer a blanket directive. A third is when co-workers tell managers the mistakes co-workers make hoping to make themselves look good at the expense of someone else.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Immediacy
This is procrastination. This is when communication is avoided because the conversations are difficult and leaders donít know how to approach the offending party, so they choose not to.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Appropriate Tone
Ever had someone in a professional setting raise his or her voice at you in a condescending, threatening or sarcastic manner? These are just a few of the ways inappropriate tone ruin relationships and trust in company cultures.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Focused Attention
In this day of technology and multi-tasking too many office conversations occur passing in the hallway, while one person is checking/responding to e-mails on their smart phone, or talking to us while on hold waiting for someone they will likely deem more important once they come on the phone. This fosters disrespect and low trust in organizations.
- Communication Mistake: Lack of Respectful Rebuttals
This may be the most common, yet subconscious of all seven leadership communication sins. Itís the conversations when someone agrees or provides positive feedback in the first part of their sentence, only to be followed by ďbut.Ē After the ďbutĒ comes the other shoe and you end up feeling misled and unfulfilled.
Skip Weisman of Weisman Success Resources, Inc. of Poughkeepsie, NY helps business leaders create Champion Organizations with improved personnel, productivity and profits. He can be reached at 845-463-3838. His latest White Paper is The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication available free at http://www.HowToImproveLeadershipCommunication.com.
Article Submitted On: December 19, 2011