All tagged Communications
I’ve talked about situations where leaders and managers struggle to say “I don’t know” because of their fear of seeming incompetent or not being “in the know”. It’s an approach that rarely works and, more often than not, breeds frustration and angst, because it goes against the reality that real leaders are human, open and willing to be vulnerable.
On the flip side, we also see situations where perfectly competent individuals - individuals who know their stuff and know the situation at hand - are unwilling to say what they think. They remain quiet even when they know better, even when their expertise, experience and gut are telling them otherwise.
Why does this happen?
When it comes to the work we do, no one likes surprises.
It doesn’t matter which part of the organization you sit in - client management, operations, marketing or elsewhere - one of the fundamental tenets of corporate performance is predictability. We want to know what’s happening, why and, if necessary, what we need to do about it.
Once, during 10th grade math class, I was called on to answer a question, one that was based on the prior night's homework. Homework that I hadn't done.
My answer was instinctual. “I don’t know. I haven’t done it.”
The teacher looked at me quizzically and asked, “Well, which one is it?"
Listen more than you talk.
I heard this last week at a conference about retailers and consumer brands. The point was that, in a world of push-over-pull, persistent over-communication and rampant messaging, we need to spend more time with our mouths closed and our ears open.