Without question, improving communication is a perennial workplace challenge. Although communication has always been an issue, it is amplified in this quasi-post-pandemic environment when you consider video meetings, adapting to new technology, managing priorities with limited information, and constant fatigue about the uncertainty ahead.
Layer on the fact that people’s attention span has diminished substantially, what with multitasking, email and text overload, and anxiety over not having enough time.
A small unsubstantiated assumption can blossom into a series of misunderstandings that can result in mistakes with consequences.
Leaders can manage this velocity of activity by taking time to meet with their direct reports to ensure that they are on the same page. Of course, this is easier said than done. You need to slow down to have this kind of reflective conversation when no one thinks they have time to even read their to do lists.
Not taking time for alignment, however, can compound misunderstandings, distortions, or falsehoods that innocently emerge from one of those unsubstantiated assumptions.
Worse yet, it can spiral even further out of control through gossip, resentment, or even resignations.
So, meet with your teams. Discuss key initiatives and their status. Ask where the biggest challenges or struggles lie. Consider key personnel where mentoring or skill development can have benefit. Speak as colleagues and learn from each other.
When your teams talk regularly, you’ll find that overall communication will improve, and you’ll avoid some of the pitfalls mentioned earlier. Yes, you need to downshift to a slower pace for these kinds of conversations to be successful, but consider them as an investment for the future.
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