Poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion a top work com­plaint

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE - COLLEEN COATES

YOU ever have felt that no one hears or sees you at work, you’re not alone. Poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion within or­ga­ni­za­tions could eas­ily be the No. 1 com­plaint that is heard time and time again. You would think that know­ing this is a key is­sue plagu­ing many or­ga­ni­za­tions that some­one would do some­thing about it! Ad­mit­tedly it can be tough to ad­dress some­thing as im­por­tant as com­mu­ni­ca­tion when it is dif­fi­cult to prove the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s re­turn on in­vest­ment. That is, if you in­vest time and even money into re­solv­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion needs, what is the pay­back for the or­ga­ni­za­tion?

Ef­fec­tive in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion plans can eas­ily trans­late into solv­ing one of our ba­sic hu­man needs, and that is the need for a sense of be­long­ing. Quite frankly I would sug­gest it could solve other ne­ces­si­ties that Abra­ham Maslow iden­ti­fied in his hi­er­ar­chy of needs. For ex­am­ple, poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion sur­round­ing changes to one’s work­ing con­di­tions might lead a per­son to be un­cer­tain about his or her abil­ity to meet their ba­sic phys­i­o­log­i­cal needs due to po­ten­tial job loss. As we know, the the­ory is that a per­son can’t move up the hi­er­ar­chy to reach self-ac­tu­al­iza­tion (to re­al­ize one’s full po­ten­tial) if they can’t even pay the mort­gage or put food on the ta­ble.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions would be wise to lis­ten to those em­ployee-en­gage­ment sur­veys telling them that in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion needs to be im­proved. Or­ga­ni­za­tions that have this mas­tered are show­ing their em­ploy­ees that they mat­ter. They are show­ing through their words and ac­tions that their peo­ple mat­ter, and peo­ple need to know that they mat­ter.

Here are 12 im­por­tant things that you can do, whether you are the em­ployer, col­league, friend, spouse or some­one who wants to show that they care:

Be­gin and end your sen­tences with ‘YOU’. You amaze me. I un­der­stand you. I hear you. You are awe­some.

Ac­knowl­edge ev­ery­one. Start your morn­ing by say­ing hello to ev­ery­one or ac­knowl­edg­ing them in some fash­ion. Don’t work in the same lo­ca­tion? Why not send a Good Morn­ing email, in­stant mes­sage or even a tweet.

Lis­ten with in­ter­est. Lis­ten with your ears and your heart. Peo­ple no­tice the dif­fer­ence and it mat­ters.

Ask “mat­ter­ing” ques­tions. How can I make your day? What can I do to help you be suc­cess­ful? What do you need from me?

Be present. How many times have you been speak­ing with some­one and you can tell their body may be there but their brain is not present. One of the great­est gifts you can give is be­ing present in body and mind.

En­cour­age and re­as­sure con­fi­dence. En­cour­age­ment gives peo­ple hope and in­spi­ra­tion. It shows you care.

De­liver hap­pi­ness. Do you work with a cranky, dis­heart­en­ing in­di­vid­ual? Th­ese peo­ple suck the life out of ev­ery­thing. Go­ing about your day with a glass-is-half-full at­ti­tude can brighten some­one’s day and cer­tainly makes the work­place more en­joy­able.

Talk about oth­ers. Stop talk­ing about your­self and start fo­cus­ing on what you have learned from oth­ers. Talk­ing about what other peo­ple are do­ing, try­ing, learn­ing and so on shows you are in­ter­ested in and open to learn­ing and grow­ing.

Of­fer hope. You have a choice ev­ery day — make the world a bet­ter place or make it worse. Your at­ti­tude and how you go about the day does mat­ter, and it does make an im­pact on the world and other peo­ple. We all have the power to lift some­one up or drag them down.

Sweat the small stuff. Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, we should take time out of our day to do the small things that mat­ter. Put a note in your child’s lunch­box that says “I love you,” send an email to a friend you haven’t spo­ken to in awhile, buy a cof­fee for the per­son in line be­hind you, call your cousin who is go­ing through a di­vorce, or send a smi­ley face text mes­sage to your spouse to tell them you are think­ing of them.

Tell peo­ple in your life that they mat­ter. We all want to know that we mat­ter to some­one. Tell your co-work­ers how much you ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing them on your team; tell your leader that he’s one of the best boss you’ve ever had; tell your wife she’s beau­ti­ful and you love her; tell your staff that you ap­pre­ci­ate the hard work they do ev­ery day. Is it gushy, mushy stuff? Maybe. But I’ve seen even the tough­est crit­ics smile and ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing told that they mat­ter.

Make the choice. You have the abil­ity ev­ery day to make the choice to make some­one’s day bet­ter. In­spire, be­lieve, thank, of­fer en­cour­age­ment and let peo­ple know how you feel about them and that they mat­ter.

If peo­ple in your life can an­swer yes to th­ese ques­tions when talk­ing about you, “Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do you care about me? Do I mat­ter to you?” then you’ve mas­tered know­ing how to en­sure peo­ple know that you care.

‘The mea­sure of a life is not what that life ac­com­plishes but rather the im­pact that life has on oth­ers.” — Jackie Robin­son

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