Written by Anthony Demangone
Management is tough. Everyone knows that. Much of that involves communication, because management, to a large degree, is communication.
We should listen to our colleagues. We should clearly lay out what the job entails. But communication is a tricky beast. Where one man sees clarity, another man sees hidden messages and agendas.
Here's one example I heard from someone. You're in a meeting and someone throws out a nice idea. You want to seem encouraging, so you say - Great idea, Sally! You then space out for a minute or two, during which time Tom makes a suggestion. You don't follow up with a That'a boy, Tom! You leave the meeting thinking you've done a good deed, while Tom wonders why you like Sally more than him.
Like I said, management is tough.
With this in mind, please read this wonderful post about asking questions from Dan Rockwell, a.k.a. the Leadership Freak. Dan raises an issue that I've missed all too often. While everyone has heard the saying that there's no such thing as a bad question, there may be exceptions to the rule. Especially with manipulative questions. Here's a snippet from his post...
Why be concerned about manipulative questions?
Some people ask general questions and then creatively apply responses. They might ask, “What do you think about the Tech Department?” You respond, “They’re improving their turn-around time.”
Your answer becomes, “The boss thinks you’re slow.” Backstabbers and manipulators make us weary. The issues, in this case, are integrity and trust, not questions. Additionally, it’s wise to answer general questions generally.
The post goes on to give some good advice (as do the comments) on how to ask questions without appearing to be manipulative. Here's my favorite...
Begin by saying, “I’ve been considering options for the “xyz” project and wonder what you think.” This signals others that you’re exploring.
The post is a good reminder that as a leader, your communications count quite a bit. Body language. Encouragements, or the lack thereof. And add to that list questions.
Have a great weekend, guys.
If you'll be at NAFCU's Congressional Caucus this September, drop me a line. It is a wonderful conference that also serves to remind our elected leaders just how important our industry is to America. I'll be there, in part to fairly compensate a loyal reader who serves as my unofficial editor (my grammar errors are too numerous to list) with a glass of sherry. I hope you can join us, sherry or not.