2015 – The Summer of Love?
What a crazy summer. We had tornadoes in June
(sorry Illinois), Apple Music
took a spin (leaving Spotify and Tidal out in the cold), ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ was TVs biggest hit and Donald Trump was the most talked about presidential candidate (and still leading in most polls). But how’s this for crazy? According to a summer 2015 Interact
/Harris Poll, which was conducted online with roughly 1,000 U.S. workers, 91% of employees say communication issues can drag executives down. No love lost here. In the survey, employees highlighted management offenses including micromanaging, bullying, narcissism, indecisiveness and a good deal more. In rank order, the following were the top communication issues people said were preventing business leaders from being effective:
- Not recognizing employee achievements.
- Not giving clear directions.
- Not making enough time for employees.
- Refusing to talk with subordinates
- Taking credit for others ideas.
- Not offering constructive criticism.
- Not knowing employees by name.
- Refusing to talk with people on the phone or in person.
- Not asking about employees lives outside of work.
The result shows that most leaders are not engaging in crucial moments that could help employees see them as trustworthy. This is where we think it gets a bit crazy, because we know that organizations spend a good deal of funds on conducting employee surveys and reorganizations, engaging consultants and implementing change initiatives. (Though, if you remember, 70% of change initiatives fail
.) Effective leaders know that healthy communication requires the energy of connection — with inclusion, recognition, clear directions, meaningful interaction
and feedback as the nerve center of the company. They know productivity is tied to communication. They are intentional about building a sense of connectedness with their teams and appreciation of their employees by saying and asking things such as:
- Show Specific Appreciation. Leaders need to notice employees’ unique, specific contributions, and let them know that you notice.
- Daily Interactions. Saying thank you in private is great. But public recognition at a staff meeting, or a thoughtful “thank you” in a newsletter or e-mail, are also meaningful.
- Ask for Feedback. Employees will withhold their best ideas from leaders who always have the “right” answer, or take credit for others’ ideas. Leaders need to proactively ask their employees: “How do you think we could improve?” “What is keeping us stuck?” and “What do you love about the work that we’re doing here?”
- Tell Them What’s Happening. Leaders will gain deep respect when they share as much as they know as soon as they can share it. Real explanations are always better than no explanations.