Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Don't You Understand?

Here's a familiar scenario:

Manager:  I've reviewed my expectations several times but I'm not getting the results I need.  I don't know what's wrong, but the team is not following through.  I go over the issues, but no one speaks up during staff meetings when I ask if anyone has any questions.  These people just don't understand.

Out of Touch
Years ago a Manager actually posed that scenario to me directly...during an organization-wide managers meeting.  Talk about having to think quickly on your feet!  I had to try to offer a suggestion while not embarrassing her.  That was not fun.  Sadly, too many Managers have convinced themselves that they are effective communicators, when in fact they don't have that skill developed to the degree necessary to lead others.  It's not that they can't become effective communicators, it's just that they aren't willing to accept the fact they they aren't effective right now.

Humility is Hard
The advantage I had in the scenario above is that the Manager was willing to ask the question. That left the door open for me to follow up with her once her peers were not all listening so I could dig deeper into her communication style. For those Managers that have absolutely convinced themselves that they are communicating well and don't need any feedback, the road ahead is often difficult. Sometimes those that believe in their approach so completely are tenured leaders which makes the whole feedback/learning option nearly impossible. 

Mirrors are Helpful
One of the more painful lessons I've learned over the years is to take a look in the mirror if things aren't going well.  Most of the time the person looking back at me is the reason I'm having trouble.  This approach is also helpful for those Managers that are struggling to get their message across.  Although it's difficult to accept that what we believed would work is now failing, all is not lost.  Part of being an effective leader is to keep trying when roadblocks appear...even when we are the roadblock.

How About You
Have you ever struggled with getting your message out?  Have others ever struggled executing on your plan?  Maybe it's time to reconsider your approach.  I know it's worked for me...over and over again.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of redbubble

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