This week’s Brief Whispers murmurs upon a culture of Listening. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.”
Truly Listen to what your employees and your customers are telling you – they will give you clues as to whether or not your culture lives by the execution of your model. They – employees and customers – vote with “little green ballots” – money from customers, time from employees and “shout from the rooftops” via social media. If you take your eye off the ball, then you are unable to lead and to steer the ship.
Keep Your Promises. If you make a commitment, stick to it. Consistently under promise and over deliver. Give yourself more time than needed and consistently deliver in advance of the deadline. Generating good will among your colleagues, peers and clients instills a benchmark for everyone to recognize your integrity. Being an authentic, honest communicator will do more to develop trust and your trustworthiness with all your interactions.
Be Observant. As employees make positive progress, recognize the behavior with specific and meaningful positive feedback. Likewise, when they’re struggling, offer encouragement, additional resources, lend a hand and if necessary stick your foot up their backside – just do it with a caring spirit. Feedback isn’t feedback unless there’s positive and negative feedback. Any by all means avoid the BS Sandwich! You’ve received this before – the “you did a great job, but…” as they’ll only ever hear the but, and you’re a butt!
Be Honest. You don’t have all the answers, and they don’t expect you to – just don’t try to “smoke it by them” either. Look into [it] and tell them when you will have a solution. Schedule a follow-up, workout, etc. Always admit the truth and keep your commitments and you’ll be building trust, exemplifying trustworthiness, fluid communication, and most importantly you’re modeling the behaviors you want others to present.
Data supports how significant poor communication costs businesses. Take, for instance, the Holmes Report Cost of Poor Communication, $37 billion: total estimated cost of employee misunderstanding, including actions or errors of omission by employees who have misunderstood or were misinformed about company policies, business processes, job function or a combination of the three, in 100,000-employee companies, among 400 surveyed corporations in the U.S. and U.K. – average cost per company is $62.4 million per year.
The Power of a Whisper isn’t just about hearing…shh, but listen.