The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
The good thing with virtual meetings is that you can focus intensely on the faces on screen.
They giveaway all kinds of clues as to what they are really thinking without them knowing.
We’re always taught that we must always listen to our staff and pay attention to what they’re saying, right?
Staff have needs and wants that we as managers need to understand and appreciate.
However, there are times when we can’t be straight and direct with people (they can’t be that way with us) because we have guidelines on how we need to interact and will often fall out with people if we told them what we REALLY think! So we attempt to mask our feelings and create situations where we aren’t truly honest with each other.
This can cause discord and shallow relationships, out of fear of offending or speaking our mind. This causes us to send ‘hidden messages’ where we try to make a point in a surreptitious way, or hide something back.
Then we expect the other person to understand our message, even though we’ve been covering up the real meaning.
We therefore need to develop the ability to read through these hidden messages and recognise as much as possible the real messages that are coming through.
Here are some examples:
What do you notice about all of these?
Well, firstly, they sound a little ‘wishy-washy’, slightly vague in their meaning. You can almost hear a ‘…but’ coming after the phrase, can’t you? When you suspect that opinions or viewpoints are being held back for some reason, try to tease out the real meaning.
Your ability to uncover these hidden concerns people have will go a long way in positively driving the conversation forward, and help you achieve a better, more coordinated conversation.
Let’s take each of the above statements and see how we could uncover the real meaning by asking positive questions:
‘I quite like your idea…’
‘You sound a little unenthusiastic about it, though. Which particular aspects of the idea appeal to you?’
‘That is certainly one way of looking at it…’
‘OK, what benefits can you see from taking that approach?’
‘Yes, I can see some benefit in doing it that way…’
‘Good! What specific benefits do you see in doing it that way?’
‘That might work…’
‘OK, how do you see it working and why?’
What you are seeing here is confirmation of the person’s point of view, and then an enquiring position on your part, where you try to dig deeper to uncover the other’s hidden message.
What we try to do in conversations is let people know our viewpoint, but many hidden messages are involved because we don’t want to undermine authority or make ourselves unpopular or hurt others’ feelings. If we can identify when the person is doing this, we can positively interact with them and help ourselves see the real message behind what they are saying.
This means listening more to what ISN’T being said, as well as what is being said.
Where is the biggest challenge in business today?
Where are we least effective in combatting it?
You may be surprised that the answer to both questions is the same! The fact is that poor communication from the top down in an organisation is the biggest threat to progress and development within business.
Today we’re going to take a look at the differences between communication and interpersonal skills and how to improve each one.
Now you might be thinking that they are one and the same thing but hear me out here and I’ll explain why they are completely different.
You’ll also discover why one person can have great interpersonal skills but be a poor communicator.
I can see you right now. The thought of delegating your authority and assigning tasks to others leaves you white-knuckling your file folders in fear. Will the job be done correctly? Will the work be done on time? Stop the negative thought process right now. After all – if you really feel this way about delegating your authority you need to assess whether or not you have the right people on your team to start with.
Take a deep breath, relax, and prepare to alleviate part of your workload. Here are three things to keep in mind as you assign work to a team member or employee:
• It’s easier to complete a project if you’re working on, or at least know about, the entire project. Don’t give pieces of the project away unless you’re willing to tell your team member about the scope of the overall project. The lack of communication from not sharing this information may result in a project that doesn’t in with the rest of the puzzle.
• Do you have a vision for the outcome of the project you are giving away? Your vision and his vision may be different based on the description you give. Speak up and tell your employee what your expectations are for the project. If you don’t speak up, don’t complain about the end result not being as you expected.
• Be sure to clearly identify the timeframe within which you expect the project to be completed. Let your employee know how often you want status reports in order to ensure the project stays on track.
Delegating your authority by assigning projects doesn’t mean simply throwing a task on someone’s desk and letting the cards fall where they may. You have the responsibility to clearly communicate your expectations and work with your team member to achieve positive results.
Give it a try – I think you’ll like the results!