Leadership frustration: A listening problem?


HearingEvery week a leader may share many messages with their team but how many are actually listened to? It has happened to me more times than I care to mention where a member of my team does not deliver on something I have asked them to do and their standard response is denial that the request was even made.

This challenge is not just limited to leadership but also in everyday dealings with other colleagues. How many email boxes are clogged up with emails where they were CC’d in? The CC in numerous occasions is simply there because the sender does not trust the person they are sending the email to and as such they CC in the world so that the person knows that if they don’t deliver then all those CC’d in the email will also be advised that they did not deliver.

The question I ask myself is really a simple one. “Who is the problem?”. Is the person who is not listening “The Problem?” or is the person that is speaking “The problem”. Some may say both, however I have seen teams that deliver 100% of the time and don’t miss deadlines and in all cases they have a great leader who communicates effectively. The leader ensures that everyone understands the message not just hears it but rather that they understand it and there is a massive difference between hearing and understanding.

Ask yourself this question? If an outsider listened and saw how I spoke with my team (verbally, via email, sms or any other medium) would they say my messages are clearly articulated and easy to understand? Or would they be highly confused as to what is really expected? Such as the message below:

“Please ensure that you are all ready to share your numbers at the next team meeting?”

This seems clear enough yet what were you actually thinking when you wrote that statement. Were you thinking year to date numbers? The numbers for the week? Were you thinking about a specific product or promotion? Don’t assume that your team will connect that sentence to a statement that you made previously a couple of days earlier.

Team frustration = A communication problem?

May you be an effective communicator that ensures your team not only listens but more critically understands.

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