Communication is a two-way street. For communication to be successful, we must have both a successful speaker and an effective listener. If either party is not present, miscommunication may occur. However, there are things we can do to reduce miscommunication.
For example, I used to work for a man who had been extremely successful in business. I was fairly young, but I had a number of great ideas that I frequently told him about. I noticed, however, that when I shared many of my ideas, he discounted them immediately.
Sometimes, I would leave his office upset and tell some of my coworkers how he wouldn’t even listen to me. Often, when these coworkers agreed with my ideas, they would bring them back up to the boss later.
For some reason, he always seemed to be more open to the ideas when he heard them a second time.
I realized that we had a communication problem, so I learned that if I wanted my ideas to be heard, I needed support from my coworkers.
WHEN LEADERS IDENTIFY A COMMUNICATION PROBLEM, THEY FIGURE OUT WAYS TO FIX IT
Many times, I would plant the seed with the boss and then tell someone else the idea. Often, the idea would be implemented with a few weeks.
We all listed to each other at different levels depending on circumstances that are present. The leader is the person who takes into account these circumstances and the character of the listener in order to make sure that the communication occurred.
For instance, if you know you are communicating with a person who is not really detail-oriented, and you give instructions verbally just once, you have a very small chance that the person will follow through on your instructions. So, for that person, it might be a good idea to follow up with a text, phone call, or email. Or, you might have to send some written instructions to the person.
Regardless of how you follow up, if you want to ensure that the communication occurs, you must go above and beyond the call of duty.
To be a great leader, take responsibility for clear communication.