Don’t Manage by Telepathy!

A recurring management theme is leaders who assume that their people know what’s on their minds. I call this “managing by telepathy”, as these leaders often neglect to articulate what they want.

This is rarely intentional. After all, you don’t sit in your office and think about how you can avoid good communication with your people. But you can get swept up in the busy-ness of your day and simply think that you said something when actually it never left your mind.

Executives who complain about communication challenges are often guilty of weak communication skills themselves. When I drill down with clients about exactly how they communicate, it doesn’t take too long to discover that they “forget” to mention specific directives or details.

One way to keep your thoughts organized is to keep running lists for the various individuals or groups that you address on a regular basis. As an example, you can keep a running list for staff meetings, for key managers, or for specific projects. Then when you meet with them, you’re not relying on memory or leaving a string of emails after the fact.

It doesn’t matter what method you use to manage these lists; what is important is that you keep them. Don’t rely on your memory, and again, don’t rely on telepathy.

I know this may seem obvious (“I’d never do that”), but you know that the little things make a big difference when it comes to communication.

I recommend that you not only try keeping person or project specific running lists, but to observe how your communication improves as a result. At a minimum, your people will be relieved from trying to read your mind.

Header image by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels.

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