“But I Didn’t Say That…”

One of the perennial problems in the workplace is the ongoing gap in communication. It is the root of many problems and unfortunately, perpetuated by too many leaders.

Communication takes work. It takes energy to make sure that your message, whether oral or written, has the language, tone, and substance that will be clear and understandable to the person receiving the message. And in our time compressed world, people don’t take the time to pause to ensure that clarity.

As a result, confusion, misperceptions, and ambiguity begins. Your message unravels, and people start pointing fingers at each other instead of solving the problem or serving the client.

This is a colossal waste of time, rendered even more ineffective when people don’t let go of what happened in these exchanges.

Leaders need to bring this to a halt rather than perpetuate the accusations. Yes, it’s important to make sure that what went wrong once won’t happen again. Of course, this is part of your job.

But your job is also to make sure that people aren’t so intimidated by indictments and blame that they retreat and become timid and fearful. Some quick tips:

+ Stop the blame game. Now.

+ Provide a work environment where people have enough time to breathe and do their jobs effectively. Yes, there can be periods of pressure, but this can’t become the norm. People will burn out and leave.

+ Lead by example. When your communication is clear, it is something your staff can model. When your communication is the problem, you add hours to everyone’s day as they walk on eggshells trying to figure out how to communicate something to you.

+ Stop saying, “but that isn’t what I meant to say.” Instead, deliver your message clearly, precisely, and unambiguously.

When you follow these tips, it will pave the way to improved communication. It’s worth the effort, so feel free to begin right now.

Have a great day!​​​​​​

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