August 4, 2015
Barriers Communicators Face #2 - Your Leader Withholds or Limits Information Shared
Written by: David Grossman
A common communication myth is that people won’t interpret situations or give them meaning if no one talks about them. If it isn’t discussed, it doesn’t exist, right?
Here are ways you can recognize, respond and act, to prevent information being withheld or limited by your leader.
Your leader most likely buys into this myth if you hear or see the following:
• “That should be on a need-to-know basis.”
• “I want to wait until I have all the information to communicate.”
• “I’ll tell you what you need to know later.”
• “We can’t trust employees with that kind of information.”
• He or she lacks understanding of employee needs.
• Filtering is also a part of this: “That’s not important to say now…”
Help your leader understand that withholding information only creates doubts and inaccuracies by saying:
• “Employees will understand if not every detail is worked out. It’s better to share with them what we know, and when we’ll know more, instead of letting them fill in the blanks themselves.”
• Discuss the “information vacuum” – if we don’t fill it, someone else will – with information that may be true or not true.
• “Employees know the score and need to be treated like adults – they want to know what we know, and when we’ll know more. They don’t expect you to have all the answers.”
• “To move people to action, we need to look at this from an employee’s perspective. Here are the questions we might anticipate from employees.”
• “Let’s talk about where the audience is coming from, and then develop the messages to best meet their needs.”
• “If our story is a book, you may be on chapter 12, but our employees may be on chapter 2.”
• “Because you talk about something with your senior team doesn’t mean it’s getting communicated throughout the organization.”
• Discuss the pros and cons of not communicating (withholding).
• “Let’s talk about where the audience is coming from and then develop the messages to best meet their needs.”
• “If we don’t communicate about this, employees could easily start spreading rumors and misinformation, maybe even outside the company.”
Share the Eight Key Questions All Employees Have with your leader. These are the questions they think about and asks every day, whether they’re new to an organization or veterans. These questions need to be answered to get employees engaged and answer the question, “How do I fit in?”
Here are the Eight Key Questions:
© 2000 The Grossman Group
Adapted, with permission, from the original copyrighted work of Roger D’Aprix; all rights reserved
You’ll notice that employees’ core questions and concerns are “me”-focused and help them understand what’s going on around them and what it means to them specifically. Once you share enough information to answer those me-focused questions, employees then look beyond themselves and become interested in the “we”-focused questions that are centered around their contributions to the larger organization.
How will you help your leader communicate necessary information in your organization?
Confront your excuses head on and put bad communication behind you. Download the free eBook, Top 5 Reasons (Excuses!) We're So Bad at Communicating, today!
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