Does Your Communication Destroy Productivity?

Most of the time, poor communication destroys productivity simply because it creates distance and a lack of psychological safety between two individuals. And if it’s done at a leadership level, basically, you are multiplying that damage. In this article, I will be focusing on why we need a system to enhance the effectiveness of communication.

Here are some reasons why this unintended destruction happens.

#1 – Words can be misinterpreted.

Speaking is quite unconscious. This unconscious behavior means words that we use are not intentional. Therefore, we might use some words loosely and end up being misinterpreted. In recent case, I noted that a leader used the phrase, “it is a simple matter”, in the context of his presentation to move people towards a change. But when using that word, he made people in the audience feel that he was talking down to them. Because he was not sensitive to the cultural context within that team, he was interpreted as being demeaning.

Could this happen to you or I? Most certainly, if we are not highly intentional with the use of our words.

#2 – Your communication intent is unclear.

As with words, we tend to be unconscious about the intent of our speech. In fact, most of the time, I don’t think you spend detailed time thinking and clarifying why you have meetings, why you have conversations, or why you even speak in front of anyone in the first place.

We need to always make effective decisions about the purpose of our communication. Setting an intention means you know that as a leader, you are going to have to achieve a specific goal whenever you are putting yourself out there. You not only need to be mindful of this intent, you need to help others to understand your intent. Then, your words will be congruent with your intention.

For instance, you could be a political leader sharing news about a certain policy in your country. But if this intention is interpreted as having ill-will, the more you talk about it or defend it, the more people will discredit your efforts. Conversely, if you are aware of this interpretation, you can address it, reframe it, and more importantly, demonstrate it so that you can earn back trust.

#3 – You might mistake ‘communication’ with ‘talking’.

We all know that you talking does not equate to them understanding. In fact, when we talk and tell people what to do, we often end up with things that we do not want. “Communication” should be more focused on listening as a primary skill set first. In order for you to do this, you’ll need to initiate good questions. When you listen, you are not just listening to the words alone, but rather the inner meanings such as beliefs, needs and emotions. As a good communicator, you can seek feedback by sharing what you think you received, and request for anything that you might be missing. In so doing, your communication can be bridged.

#4 Unconscious Incongruence.

The last thing I want to talk about in terms of how communication is often poor, is due to what I call “unconscious incongruence”. I’ve taken a look at hundreds, if not thousands of hours of speech scripts from speakers and leaders and from individuals who wish to be speakers or leaders during my executive coaching sessions. Most of the time, they behave in a way that they don’t intend.

The reason why they do this is once again because of unconscious habits they are not aware of. For example, one might gesture to emphasize a point. So if I said “emphasize”, I might actually use a “downward cutting gesture” with one of my hands match with the level of importance of that point. However, many either unconsciously use the wrong gesture to emphasize (such as a fleeting and obviously unintended palm-flapping gesture) or they gesture in an incongruent timing to the word that has been used.

Because I run development programs for leaders in large organizations, I realize that their ability to speak and listen in a properly executed communication package is very often under explored. As a result, they go on autopilot once they take a higher office. No wonder many leaders are deemed as poor communicators even though they are technically competent and reliable.

In conclusion, I have to admit that the only reason why I know these is because I’m always prone to miscommunication and misinterpretation myself. In fact, as a leader in school, I had to face a lot of unintended, frustrating consequences of my inability to effectively communicate due to the reasons I have highlighted. As a leader within your own business, you need to start taking a look at these in order to develop a structured approach to enhancing your communication capabilities. Not only will you become more effective at what you’re saying, your team will flourish, and your business will grow. In a follow up post, I intend to share ways that NLP can help you to enhance your communication. And if I get sufficient interest, I will also share ideas about how you can enhance interpersonal relationships with these same communication skills.

Be sure to bookmark my blog and share this on your social media so that it can benefit your friends and also help me spread the ideas that can transform people from the inside out.

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See also  Personal Development Model of Business

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