The young man was so ready with his verbal response that I’m not sure he even heard the question that was asked of him. Despite laying the ground rules for effective communication exchange, the pressures of the moment and the need to satisfy his position took over his responses.
Communication Barriers Impede Success
Little did he know, this was perfect for the exercise because it illustrated how each of us can communicate poorly despite the best intentions. It was during one of my opportunities to provide training that I coached a company’s leadership teams through specific role-play exercises to reveal how messaging can become distorted and lost during communication. One of the three things to remember with any level of communication is there is a communicator, a receiver and a message with encoding.
Three Points of Communication
1. The communicator initiates the engagement and has a verbal, written or body language message to offer up or share.
2. The receiver is charged with receiving this message accurately through auditory, visual or the tactile means that are available to him or her.
3. Finally, the messages encoding is how the message travels to finalize its content delivery. For example, e-mail, face to face, webinar, phone call, etc.
The interesting caveat that prompts this article is that communication is rarely taught or provided as an ongoing learning requirement for those who are expected to lead others successfully. For that reason, leadership and communication can often collide.
Leading and Communication
So where do we stand in the gap for our followers and allow our leaders to lead unimpeded? Two key growth interventions that I often suggest based upon the context of the consulting engagement are related to taking a pro-active stance with communication. For example, as a part of the on-boarding process make communication expectations a part of the conversation. I also suggest a low-cost ongoing training solution by utilizing my company’s asynchronous learning portal to provide custom solutions based upon the leadership’s objectives. No matter what the manner of intervention, the key is to make effective healthy communication a priority for long-term success!
Point of Clarity Quote
Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
― Hermann Hesse