Inquiring minds want to know. Last month the Mixonian conducted research (yes, we’re cool like that) about top communication issues at work. Our 1-question survey was a chance for folks to dish about their secret communication issues. Funny thing, most people (not you of course!) complain about how inadequately their colleagues and bosses communicate, but everyone thinks they themselves are truly good communicators.
And what’s really fun, in a separate Mixonian study this past week, participants were asked what their communication strength was. For 70%…the self-reported communication strength was “listening.”
Accurate self-assessment doesn’t come easy.
Communication issues suck time and energy and cost very little to fix. But like the nose on your face, you don’t notice the little ways you can really up your communication game, have more influence (and fun) and de-stress your life.
These are the communication issues bothering folks (using their words):
- Remembering the message
- Communicating change
- Upward communication
- Sharing bad news
- Not feeling appreciated
- Moving from crisis management to thinking ahead
- Adding value
- Motivating under-performers
- Having one’s opinion marginalized
- Giving constructive criticism
- Unsure about how much detail to divulge
- Being interrupted
- Getting folks to hear your message
- Time management
- Keeping others focused on the job at hand
- Other folks not listening
- Feeling nervous
- Email overload
And these are the top 3 Communication Conundrums!
1. Being clear (especially when busy).
(This problem was far more reported than any other.)
2. Getting the message to everyone.
3. Not sounding harsh.*
What can you do about it….besides hiring Mixonian Institute for a very cool communication workshop?
Truly, it starts with you.
Communication is how you share what’s important to you with other people. The way you communicate both reflects who you are and the person you are becoming. It’s an unbelievable tool you can leverage to make yourself more effective or more interesting, if you want.
These problems seem to be all over the place. What’s worse, there are significant factors beyond your control. Being a fabulous communicator does not make you world dominatrix (or dominator.) No matter what, not everyone will be your fan (only the clever ones will.)
Yet there is one thing you can do right now to become a more powerful
Step away and become your own communication/leadership coach.
While you won’t see all your blind spots, you can definitely cultivate the Inner Observer and ask yourself questions like these:
- What variables are in place when people do listen to you?
- What does it feel like when you know the other person understands your meaning?
- How do you react when you’re interrupted?
- How do you know if you’re not clear or coming across as harsh?
- What kinds of messages do permeate the organization (besides “free beer”)?
- Is there room for disagreement with your position?
- What kinds of checks and balances are in place to improve communication quality?
You can ask yourself other questions as well. The point is to insert some space in your life so you can get out of reactionary mode and into proposition mode.
It’s like when 5 years ago I hired Christine Kane to help me transition out of a difficult time and realize more of the potential I thought I had (trust me, we all have more potential than you think.) During one call she asked me what I thought I did outstandingly well. My response was, “I am a really good parent.”
Her response to my response was, “Well, now you gotta be your own parent.”
Not to replace my own darling parents, but the point is to become your own coach and encourager. Seek accountability. Do what you need to do to make success easier for you. That means taking responsibility for what’s going on and stop waiting for other people to greenlight your project or get their shizzle together so you can. Honing your communication skill is the ripple effect ends up transforming your whole life.
* Interestingly, this issue was reported by women only.