What is the essence of your job as a manager of people? It could be summed up as follows: “The achievement of successful results consistently through others.”
And how you communicate with your team members will have a considerable influence over the results they achieve, writes Philip Cripps, CEO of Thameside International.
So take a look at the communication traps shown below and consider how many you fall into regularly.
• Communicating negatively
How often do the words “hopefully”, “perhaps” and “maybe” feature in your dialogue?
When you use them consistently they place doubt in the mind of your listener about the message you are delivering.
• Making statements
When you are seeking to influence and persuade your team to want to do what you want them to do ask questions rather than make statements.
Statements such as “I think”, “I feel”, “I consider” and “in my opinion”, when used regularly, can demotivate staff. Remember this saying ….
“Statements create confrontation….Questions stimulate communication”
• Being dishonest (or at least conservative with the truth)
How often do you use the phrases ….
“To be honest ……”
“I’d like to be honest ….”
“To be perfectly honest ….”
“If I can be honest ….”
“To be absolutely honest ….”
“To be completely honest ….”
Each phrase suggests you are not being honest.
• Using the ‘yes..but’ expression
When you respond regularly to your team members ideas, suggestions and views with ‘yes, but ….’ you will chloroform creative thinking. ‘Yes, but’ is a contradiction in terms. It means “Yes, No you are wrong” … and all too often its delivered like a verbal head butt…
Substitute ‘Yes, and …..’ for “Yes, but ….” and you will stimulate more positive discussions.
• Asking the ‘why’ question
‘Why’ has often been described as the most aggressive word in the English language. It has an ability to put people on the defensive and often cause offence.
When you ask team members questions use the words ‘What’ and ‘How’ rather than ‘Why’ and pose your questions in a calm and passive manner.
• Using ‘verbal stuffers’
When you are a conscious communicator you avoid filling your conversations with such verbal stuffers as ….
“Obviously,” “absolutely,” “basically,” “like,” “actually,” “so,” “you know,” “OK”.
Each word, when repeated regularly, irritates your listener and reduces substantially the impact of your message.
• Starting sentences with the ‘no’ word
It is amazing how such a small word can have such a devastating effect on discussion. When 'no' precedes anything you say you either shut down a conversation or create an argument.
• Using the phrase ‘with the greatest respect’
Each one of your team members will think you have no respect either for them or their thoughts.
You may still be tempted to think that you communicate effectively with your team members and business associates. However, when you study the contents of my latest book, Management in a Minute, I am sure you will change your mind.
Management in a Minute breaks the mould when it comes to business books. There are no chapters, no theories and no requirement to follow the traditional cover-to-cover approach to reading. Instead it contains hundreds of “messages”. Each message is a powerful, practical and proven technique that you can read in just one minute.
The techniques and approaches highlight the many traps into which business owners, directors and managers fall. They also provide the reader with fantastic ways to enhance their communication and employee management skills.
Management in a Minute will change the way you manage people and seek to influence others. The book is available in paperback, hardback or eBook formats. The paperback is just £7.99 and available from Amazon, Waterstones and other leading bookshops.
Philip Cripps is chief executive of Thameside International and widely regarded as one of the country’s leading management consultants