How environment can impact communication

The other week, Mary Jo Asmus wrote in Feedback: The Whole Truth (Almost) "unless certain conditions are right, they (staff, peers and managers), will NOT hear the whole truth" when asking for feedback. There can be a number of reasons for this, however it's up to you as a leader to create an environment in which people will feel more at ease and willing to communicate openly.

An important characteristic of a good leader is the ability to communicate, which is really what Mary's post is about. People often think of communication as being understood (ie, talking), but in reality true communication is built on understanding the other person and there are a lot of subtleties to perfecting it. It's also about empathy. It's about listening. It's about catching non-verbal cues. It's even about controlling your setting or environment.

How can the setting impact feedback? During one of Angelo's recent workshops with a sales manager and his team, someone asked a relatively new person what they thought of the manager. Caught off guard, the new guy didn't know what to say. And despite encouragement from the manager to be honest, he refused, even though it was clear that he didn't have anything negative to say. The problem was that the environment wasn't right and he felt uncomfortable offering personal feedback with a room full of other people staring at him.

When communicating, be sure to consider the larger picture and how a variety of factors may help shape the discussion. When you start to take this broader view, you'll find that you're having more open and honest interaction with your people.

Posted: 19/10/2010 7:11:52 PM by Andy Klein | with 0 comments
Filed under: communication, environment
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